Monday, 24 April 2017

Heroes of the Holocaust…

Entrance to a death camp. Translation: Work Brings Freedom
April 24th marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. To honour this day, I approached my author friend, Carol Browne, who wrote a book about a Holocaust survivor, to ask if she’d like to get together to do an article about two people who had survived the Holocaust and made a substantial difference in this world. Carol was totally on board, so we put our heads together, and these are the two heroic people we chose…

Carol’s hero:

Elie Wiesel
Born in Sighet, Romania on 30th September, 1928, Elie Wiesel was a student of religion. In 1940 his family was forced to live in a Jewish ghetto, along with many others, but worse was to come in May, 1944, when Jews living in Sighet were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Elie was then aged fifteen. He and his father were used as slave labourers there before being sent on a forced march to Buchenwald, where his father was so badly beaten by a German soldier he died. The camp was liberated three months later and Elie was free, but he had lost his parents and youngest sister to the Holocaust. His two older sisters miraculously survived.

Elie was a student at the Sorbonne, 1948-51, and began a career in journalism. In 1960 his book La Nuit (Night) was published. It told of his experiences during the Holocaust and became an international bestseller. Two novels followed: Dawn (1961) and Day (1962). Altogether these books comprised a trilogy that looked closely at man’s inhumanity to man.

Wiesel became an American citizen in 1963. He went on to write many books and became a revered activist and public orator, speaking out against injustices all over the world. In 1978, Jimmy Carter appointed him as chair of the President's Commission on the Holocaust. Among his many awards were the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honour's Grand Croix. He held teaching posts at a number of universities and, together with his wife Marion, founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, to combat the intolerance and injustice that so concerned him.
In 1986, Wiesel’s activism finally won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

On July 2, 2016, Wiesel died at his home in Manhattan, aged 87. In spite of horrendous experiences in the death camps, he had not lost his faith in humanity and never failed in his duty to his fellow man. To quote the citation of his Nobel Peace Prize, “Wiesel is a messenger to mankind. His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief.”

Sharon’s hero:

Otto and Anne Frank
You may have heard of Otto Heinrich Frank through his famous daughter, Anne. After his liberation from Auschwitz, Otto made his way back to Amsterdam, June 3rd, 1945, to find out that his wife and later his two daughters had perished in the death camps. Otto slowly learned to live with his grief. “There is no point in brooding”, he wrote to a friend on March 16, 1946. “We have to go to living, go on building. We don’t want to forget, but we mustn’t let our memories lead us to negativism.”

On the same day Otto Frank learned of his daughters’ deaths, Miep Gies, a trusted employee and dear friend, gave him Anne’s red-and-light-green checkered diary, her notebooks, and 327 loose sheets of onionskin paper Miep had rescued and kept safe in her desk drawer. Otto went to work on putting the papers in some kind of order, and typed out a manuscript which he had professionally edited. After Otto gave a copy of the corrected manuscript to several friends and relatives to read, he was urged to publish the diary by a professor friend, who said, “It was the most moving document about that time I know, and a literary masterpiece.”

Originally published with the title Het Achterhuis (The House Behind) in March 1947, the first American edition appeared in 1952 under the title Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Believe it or not, the diary didn’t become a bestseller until it was adapted for the stage and performed throughout the world. On May 3, 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation was established to preserve the building (263 Prinsengracht) where the Franks hid during the war. Otto Frank insisted that the foundation also establish a centre that would promote contact among young people of different countries and religious backgrounds to prevent intolerance and discrimination. On May 3, 1960, the Anne Frank House opened as a museum and to this date receives over a million visitors each year. In the end, the Nazi terror could not silence Anne’s voice, thanks to her father’s deep devotion to bring Anne’s words out into the world.

About the Authors:

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.

 Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Being Krystyna; A story of survival in WWII

It’s 2012, the year of the London Olympics, and for young Polish immigrant Agnieszka, visiting fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home is a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and the death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive, these are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka find a way to accomplish her task, and, in this harrowing story of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2:

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to do whatever they can to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.
With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.


  1. Thank you for posting and honoring this day. -Leigh

    1. You're welcome, Leigh! Cheers for stopping by! Appreciate it!

  2. It was great to collaborate with you on this, Sharon. Many thanks :)

    1. You're welcome, Carol! Great to write a worthy post with you too. All the best with your writing career!

  3. This post is very moving. It is wonderful to write about these two heroes, survivors of a terrible time. Visiting Anne Frank's house last year moved me to tears and I came home and reread her book.

    1. Thank you, Darlene! Oh, I'd love to visit Anne Frank's house, just to feel her presence in those walls. Such a heroic person!