Friday, May 30, 2014

Madness and Miracles

We sat in the back row of the Helena Rubinstein Theatre at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, but we heard every traumatic detail of the Mendels family journey toward safety.

Jacqueline Mendels Birn was interviewed by Bill Benson for the museum’s series, "First Person: Conversations with Holocaust Survivors."

She told a story of miracles and madness during the Nazi occupation of France, which began in May 1940 when Germany invaded France.

The madness caused by Hitler and the Nazis -- and the miracles that were attributed to kind people, holy circumstances, and an indomitable father.

Hidden in a hamlet in the south of France, the family of four, and then five, were protected by the French from the Germans for over two years.

Emotional yet articulate, Jacqueline had one last clarion call to the young people in the audience.

"Do good."

"Make a difference."

"Do good."

Jacqueline Mendels Birn is the author of A Dimanche Prochain: A Memoir of Survival in World War II France. She lives in Bethesda, Md., with her husband Richard.

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