i read this story in the ny times today. i loved it. i recently read "night" for book group so it especially caught my attention. i recommend the book.
A Survivor’s Optimism
By MAURA J. CASEY
Published: October 20, 2006
When Sigmund Strochlitz was starving in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and, later, mourning his wife, parents and two sisters, who died at Birkenau, he could not have imagined the rich and varied years still to come.
Mr. Strochlitz, who died Monday at 89 in his New London, Conn., home, typified the determination of so many Holocaust survivors. He refused to allow grief to immobilize him. He remarried, emigrated to America, raised children and began a business. In time, he became one of the dearest friends of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, and traveled thousands of miles with him to ensure remembrance of the millions of Jews who were murdered during World War II.
Mr. Strochlitz worked to inspire each state and Washington, D.C., to dedicate one day of Holocaust remembrance during the year, and was a member of the council that established the national Holocaust Memorial Museum.
His life was rooted in gratitude. He was generous, because the memory of having nothing was never far from his mind. He was fluent in five languages. He met popes and presidents, yet he spoke with wonder of the love of his children, grandchildren and his wife Rose, to whom he was married for 56 years.
Every day, the ranks of Holocaust survivors like Mr. Strochlitz dwindle. Their lives defied their losses. Their families died, and they started over. Their homes were destroyed, and they built again. Their communities were wiped out, and they emigrated, often to America, to begin anew.
The triumphs of Mr. Strochlitz, and of the others, are measured not merely by length of years, but by the children they raised, the stubborn optimism of their lives, and a legacy of kindness. Would that we could all say the same. MAURA J. CASEY