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Book Review: Lily's Promise

Lily's Promise

I have read numerous books written by survivors of the Holocaust, and while they all touched my heart as I witnessed through the written word the depravity of humanity, none have touched me more than Lily's Promise. It is written with emotion and historical facts that keep the reader engaged throughout the 300 pages. Her honest retelling of this horrific time in her life was shared to make the reader feel they are sitting beside her as a good friend, listening to another friend's life story.

Lily's great-grandson writes sections as a co-author. He shares his love for her and his work on social media to get her story out to thousands who might not otherwise know about her. At the time of the blog's writing, Lily was 100 years old and still going on adventures with her family. When her grandson Dov often stopped by, Lily would tell him, "Let's do something, Dov." And off they would go.

Lily is Hungarian and was fortunate in that the Nazis did not occupy them until March 19, 1944. However, by June, Lily was on her way to Auschwitz along with her mother, three sisters, and younger brother. Her older brother had been sent to serve in a paramilitary command. Lily's description of the train ride to Auschwitz was no different from the others I have read, but my heart still stung as I again read of the cruelty of the German guards.

I've kept the promise I made myself in the camp. I've told the world what happened. Lily Ebert

Before her father died from pneumonia, he asked her to promise to look out for her younger brothers and sisters, as well as her mom. Several years later, on Yom Kippur, 1944, fighting to stay alive, Lily made a promise to herself. She would survive, and she would tell the world her story. It took many years for her story to come out, but indeed, she has kept her promise.

When American soldiers finally liberated them, their lives became even more surreal. After a year in concentration camps and being treated like animals, it was difficult to believe in their own humanity again. It was when they were finally headed to Switzerland that hope began to return. The assistant to the Army rabbi took out a note of special military currency and wrote, "A start to a new life. Good luck and happiness." The note encouraged hope, and she continues to keep it with her.

I personally don't know if I could have survived the horror of concentration camps, nor do I know if I could find happiness after. It takes a strong and stubborn constitution to live through that and then be able to make a good life for yourself and your family. In my opinion, every person who survived the concentration camps should be an inspiration to us all. May we never forget what they suffered simply because they were Jews. And may we make sure nothing like this happens again!

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