If you were not at the “KSB Remembers the Holocaust” Concert last night, you missed something very profound. We hope to do it again next year, so don’t miss it! The days when we have the honor of being in the presence of survivors are numbered. Your sons’ children will not have the opportunity to meet someone who endured the unthinkable.
I want to share something that happened after the performance. Following the concert, the boys got a priceless opportunity to sit at round tables and get to know one of our 11 new friends, all “hero” survivors. I was a table with Manya Frydman Perel – and she stole my heart. She was born in Poland in 1924 and was sent to live in the Radom ghetto, and then subsequently five different concentration camps – the last being Auschwitz. In 1945 she was on a death march from Auschwitz when she and a friend escaped into the woods. They were later found by Russian soldiers.
Manya told the boys at the table and I that 80 years later, she still has trouble sleeping because of nightmares. When she was rescued, she was a skeleton, but could not swallow, and therefore still could not eat right away. She said to this day, she saves a “little bit of bread” on her dinner plate and freezes it, fearful that one day she may not have food to eat again.
When the boys left, Manya took my hands in hers, and proceeded to sing “Ani’Ma Amin,” a song she remembered singing in Auschwitz. Its significance in the history of the Jewish people, and especially during the Holocaust, is deeply moving, haunting, and ultimately hopeful. The boys sang a simple but stunning arrangement of it last night as part of the program. Mayna told me the boys made her so happy when they sang it that she will be, in her words, “happy now until the day I die.” May that not be anytime soon!
Along with remembering the Holocaust, we should also remember the power of KSB to bring healing and happiness to people – including people who have endured the worst of human behavior. Be proud KSB parents and boys that we represent the very best of what humankind can do in the world. And so, all of the rehearsing, travelling, trouble is indeed worth it. How do we know. We know because of Manya. Take a moment and contemplate her life, and her words: “happy now until the day I die.”