On the night of Kristallnacht, Monday, Nov, 9, 7 p.m. at the Highland Park Public Library, author Miriam Dobin will read and talk about her personal memoir, I Am Because of You — A Triumphant Story of a Few Who Survived the Holocaust and Went on to Build Future Generations.
Longtime Highland Park resident Miriam Dobin, married with three children, has worked as an early childhood educator for over 20 years. Miriam has taught Holocaust studies to middle school students and is deeply committed to furthering knowledge of this period in history.
Upon the death of her beloved aunt, Miriam promised herself that the time had come to write the family history.
Her task took her deep into the family records and half way around the world to the places where her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lived before they were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps and where almost all of them were killed.
Miriam was raised not only by her two parents but also by her aunt and uncle, all four of them survivors. Together these four individuals reared a child who, for them, embodied a future that they could hardly have believed would ever come. Miriam’s life is a living legacy to the strength and perseverance of these four individuals, who together instilled in Miriam a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to Jewish life, family and continuity. She graduated Yeshiva University Stern College for Women with a degree in education and received her certification as Teacher of the Handicapped from Kean University. She is a licensed teacher in the State of New Jersey. Miriam currently serves as the head teacher in the Early Childhood Program of a local school.
The recently published book is about her parents, aunt, and uncle who survived, and also about her own journey in 2014 to Auschwitz concentration camp where they were imprisoned. The book also follows her travels to Slovakia and Western Ukraine, where her parents were born. Her upbringing, raised by older parents, Olga, 48, and Morris, 56, at the time of her birth, is also a backdrop to this survival story. The author described (below) the war experiences of her parents and aunt and uncle – some of which will be narrated at the Monday night event:
“My mother and father were from Czechoslovakia. Borders were changing rapidly during World War II. My mother’s town in Slovakia, Oborin, went from being part of Czechoslovakia to being part of Hungary. She was taken in April 1944, when she was considered Hungarian, the last of the Jews to be taken.
“My father was from a town called Svalyavain Czechoslovakia, now considered West Ukraine. Since he was considered a Czech Jew, he was taken and placed in a forced labor camp from 1939 to 1945 and had a worse experience than my mother, aunt and uncle. My aunt, my mother’s sister, and my uncle, her husband, were in hiding. In 1935, before the war my aunt and uncle were married.
“During the war they were on the run. They crossed the border in February of 1942 to my parent’s home in Hungary on the exact day the borders changed and unfortunately strangers would be very noticeable. As a result they were running and hiding in Hungary for the next two years. One Hungarian town that became a Jewish ghetto was Nagy Sollos. When it became a ghetto they started to transport Hungarian Jews. It became established as a ghetto in April 1944 during Passover.
“By June 1944 Jews were being transported to Auschwitz, during the holiday of Shavout. The Germans always captured the Jews on holidays because they knew they would be celebrating together.
“My mother, father and Uncle were very open about their experiences during the war. My aunt had trouble talking about it. She opened up to me after I was engaged. I had four parents. My aunt and uncle never had children but I was raised by them also. My mother got sick when I was 10. My aunt and Uncle took me in.”
A book signing will follow the discussion. For more information about library events call 732-572-2750 or go to www.hpplnj.org