There were tears, applause and awe last Thursday evening, Dec. 6, at the Tattered Cover book signing of local Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr. Freezing temperatures couldn’t keep the audience away, who came to hear Starr share memories and promote her new book.
Starr’s story is shared in Nevertheless We Persisted (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018), a new anthology of personal memories of struggle and identity.
The book is aimed at young adults and shares stories of young adulthood, though most of the contributors are firmly past that stage in life. The aim is to empower young adults of today through stories of overcoming obstacles.
Starr, who survived Auschwitz, Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen, is, at 96, the oldest contributor. Yet her story of living through the Holocaust took place during her teen years. How she survived and carried on is something not even Starr could answer when an audience member posed the question. “I ask myself ‘why?’ every day,” shared Starr, questioning why she survived when so many others, including her own parents, did not.
Originally from Lodz, Poland, Starr was a child laborer in the infamous Lodz Ghetto, which was under the control of Chaim Rumkowski, who was widely seen as a collaborator with the German authorities who helped facilitate the transport and murder of thousands of Jewish children. Rumkowski was later beaten to death in Auschwitz by Jewish Sonderkommando inmates in a revenge killing. At the reading, Starr shared that prior to her transport to Auschwitz, Rumkowski had told Lodz Ghetto inhabitants that they were being sent to “paradise.”
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org