This is an extremely emotional clip. Tova Friedman explains how being Jewish and fulfilling being a Jew has become increasingly difficult, when they are supposed to ask God for forgiveness for their sins. She argues that given her experiences and of course millions of others, this may now be the wrong way around.

Who is Tova Friedman?

Tova was born on September 7th, 1938 in Gdynia, Poland, a suburb of Danzig.  Her family came from Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland and were returned there as soon as the war broke out.  Her father recalled that he was shocked at the devastation. The 15 thousand Jews were cramped into six 4-story buildings unable to leave without special permission.  They lived with their grandparents and other people in tight quarters with the children sleeping and eating under the table. Starvation, shootings and deportation soon decreased the population. Those that managed to survive were packed into trains and shipped off to Nazi labour camps.  A handful were kept as the cleanup squad. She held her mother’s hand as she and her father picked up the corpses and brought them to the communal grave.

Her next destination was Starachowice where her parents worked at an ammunition factory while the children roamed the streets careful not to get shot by the armed soldiers in the 4 towns surrounding the camp.  When the children’s selections came, she watched from my hiding place as all remaining children disappeared.

Her next destination was Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz Birkenau. At 5-1/2 years old her head was shaven and she was tattooed. She survived hunger, disease and a trip to the gas chamber. Her mother’s ingenuity saved her when instead of going on the death march they both hid themselves with corpses and lived to experience the liberation of Auschwitz, by the Russians on January 27, 1945.

She has been sharing her story with students and audiences at public and private schools, at colleges and places of worship, as well as prisons.  She came to the US with her parents at age 12.  She received a Bachelors of Arts degree in psychology from Brooklyn College, a Master of Arts in Black literature from City College of New York and her Master of Arts in social work from Rutgers University.  She taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was Director of Jewish Family Service of Somerset and Warren Counties for over 20 years and she still works there as a therapist. She have been married for 59-1/2 years and has 4 children and 8 grandchildren.

What does Auschwitz mean to her?

The darkest period in human history.

Her message for future generations is…

Educate yourself about the darkest period in human history when fire consumed men, women and children and turned millions into ashes.  Educate yourself and teach others lest the world forgets and lets it happen again.

Is Tova right?

Or is Keith right?

Let us know below.

For those interested in watching the whole interview:

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