My name is Tosia Szechter Schneider, I was born in a beautiful little resort town on the Dniester river-Zaleszczyki. The memories of my happy childhood are overshadowed by the horror of the Holocaust.
I am the only survivor of a large family.
I knew that some day I will have to fulfill the pledge I made to my mother the bitter winter of 1942 to tell the world should I survive. Originally, I thought I will write just a history of our family for my children and grandchildren and yet I realized that, that will not be the fulfillment of my mother's wish. It was difficult to start, to relive all those painful memories, yet I wanted the world to know not only how it happened, but what our lives were like before the tragedy, what was lost by the murder of all those millions of innocent people .I am most grateful the Polish/Jewish Heritage Foundation for printing my memoir "Someone Must Survive To Tell The World"
This memoir has indeed traveled the world, from Thailand to Australia, France, Germany, Poland and Israel.
It has been very well received. I have been invited to speak at many different venues: Emory University, Georgia Tech, Georgia Stage University, West Georgia University, and Georgia State University at Milledgeville as well as at many high schools and book club groups. I spoke also for the officers and soldiers at Fort Gordon. Frankly, this outpouring of empathy and interest were quite a revelation to me, there is a great deal of interest in this dark period of history. These days when president of Iran claims that the Holocaust never happened, it is incumbent for eyewitnesses to speak up. We must not allow the revisionist of history and the deniers of the Holocaust triumph.
Poem for Tosia by students of UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA:
The camps are behind her now,
but only in presence,
She still remembers the displacement,
the cruelty of intelligence,
the brutality of efficiency.
The camps are behind her now.
Still, there is a small dark hole
in her heart
into which no light will shine.
She did not ask for it.
She did not wish for it to remain.
Fortunately, memories of hope, of struggle, of love in spite of the loveless
tenderly embrace this dark spot
and the warmth somehow keeps
the infection from her soul.
Now, years later,
humbled by pain,
enlightened by love,
her story goes forth,
to stir memories of the past
to live in the memory of the present
to anticipate the memory of the future.
To be human in spite of inhumanity
and discover that we are resilient creatures
who learn to face our struggles with a firm quietness
is a gift, a legacy of heart and mind and soul.
That is the story.
July 15, 2008
West Georgia University