IN THE CLASSROOM...

“It is rare to hear a presentation so simultaneously filled with pathos and urgency. You both commanded and compelled the students to heed your message, and I believe they understood why on both accounts. Not only did they learn history from you, but they learned life lessons. Even if they are not aware of how lucky they are to have benefited from your experiences and from your lessons, I am certain you planted seeds...It was important for them to experience both the strength and compassion you exude...because it allowed them to really hear the truth...”

Brian

teacher

“Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and to my students. They really recognize authenticity and see it in you….[Y]ou taught them to appreciate their education…From you they also learned what it is to be a life-long learner.”

Pat

teacher

"The learning from [my history] unit was made much more significant by your personalization of the events and your willingness to talk with the students. I thank you too for the inspiration you've given them and me with your peacefulness, you've demonstrated the strength and resilency possible in the human character and that's a lesson for us all."

Lorna

teacher

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"It is my belief that hearing your story first hand is an experience that will stay with [our seventh grade students] and that yours is a story they will pass down to their children...I know it cannot be easy reliving that part of your life again and again, but what you have done through your talks and your book is so powerful. Your story is one that students are captivated by. They relate to a young Edith hiding and not knowing what the next day would bring, while it is horrifying, the fact that you are here to tell the outcome makes it bearable for them to hear."

Marge

education director

"After your talk, the students expressed many feelings of gratitude and inspiration from the passionate conviction that you bring to your life and work. For many, you took history out of the dry pages of documents and books. You brought or rather imparted a sense of responsibility to the students and motivated them to rethink what they have learned and assumed. Hopefully, we will not take our freedom for granted and your talk with help us make the most of future studies and take part in defending civil society, our values, and democracy."

Russell

teacher

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EDITH HAS TOUCHED THE LIVES OF MANY PEOPLE BY SHARING HER STORY, WHICH SHE USES TO NOT ONLY EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AND THE LESSONS WE MUST LEARN FROM IT, BUT ALSO TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO APPRECIATE WHAT AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES THEY HAVE. EDITH ALSO SHARES HER OWN LIFE LESSONS AND THE VALUES AND WISDOM SHE HAS ACQUIRED THROUGH HER HARD WORK AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING.

 

ON BRINGING THE HOLOCAUST EVENTS TO LIFE…

  • “We have all read events of the Holocaust out of textbooks and novels but your actual voice will forever be in my ears. I have been through hard times, but now I know that what I’ve faced is nothing. I couldn’t imagine have to hide as you said in ‘plain sight’. There were so many ways you could’ve gotten caught. I’ve never experienced not having an education because it was handed to me as soon as I could walk.” ­– Gabrielle, high school

  • “In the eighth grade, my class read The Diary of Anne Frank. However, to tell the truth, the whole tragic event seemed so far away, so distant and so long ago, that I was not really touched by it…My attitude has now completely changed. Hearing you speak brought tears to my eyes as you spoke of being parted from your bother...” – Yakini, high school

  • “Although I have learned about WWII in several of my classes, as a student, it is difficult to get the full story of what happened, let alone comprehend what it was like to be there during the war. Your story helped me to realize how the war impacted individuals, and that it had effects that didn’t end immediately when it was over…After hearing your story, I also admired your dedication to improving your life after the war…I think that learning that much in a year was very impressive and encourages me in my own studies…” – Olivia, high school

ON LEARNING FROM THE HOLOCAUST…

  • “I will carry your story with me to achieve the goal of stopping anti-Semitism and any genocide of people.” – Smitha, high school

  • “I will never understand or comprehend the reasons why the Nazis would commit such atrocious acts against their fellow humans. That being said, I feel the need to try to understand regardless and this has led me to attempt to view these events through the lens of your perspective. I feel that the worst…is the lingering and pervasive influence that it has had on European and even global society. Unbeknownst to many people, anti-Semitism is in some ways present and healthy even today. I am glad that you chose to mention this…if we are ever to move on from these tragic events…As a Muslim, I am well aware of the dangerous conflict between the states of Israel and Iran and their potential impact on the United States. Religious tension persists in the world, and it is the task of my generation (and all future generations) never to forget the Holocaust, as well as all other atrocities, and to try to promote an understanding of others that lead to a better world for all of us.” – Alan, high school

  • “I learned from you…that what people think does matter. The Holocaust started with ideas…We also should stand up for what we know is right, even if people around us aren’t.” – Michelle, middle school

  • “The things you said gave me a stronger perspective of how things were…your speech also filled me with a desire to stand up for things that I believe in and to take a stand against those who are willing to cause harm to others to gain power…Thank you for caring enough for our generation that you would go out of your way to warn us about the potential apathy and hatred in man so that we can fight against it before things as terrible as the Holocaust could ever happen again. You are inspiring and you are one of the greatest heroes of all time.” – Darlene, high school

  • “Your personality is so bright and colorful, it’s hard to believe you lived through such terrible times…the part that got me was seeing you and your pictures in your book, Becoming Edith…Knowing we are all people, created the same, breathing the same air, it’s difficult to believe such things could be put on people just like me. Especially to believe that so many people were bystanders in this situation, who wouldn’t help such a vast amount of people. I truly believe that there are two kinds of evil, those who do evil, and those who see evil being done and do nothing to stop it.” – Shannon, high school

ON TRANSCENDING HATRED…

  • “I look up to you as one of my inspirations. You have taught me to never hate, just think of those who do wrong as ‘lost souls,’” – Lila, high school

  • “While listening to your story, I could tell that you had let go of your hatred toward those who had mistreated you. After suffering as much as you did, finding the strength to live is something most people are not capable of.” – Francis, high school

  • “Your words were kind, yet they held a powerful message and I believe that everyone was touched by them. I know that prejudice is a very ugly thing, but unfortunately, it still exists today. I’m glad that you were able to survive through those horrible times and went on to finish and further your education…” – Elizabeth, high school

  • “I truly do wish to strive to be as forgiving as you have been. Within your presentation you stated, ‘Hatred is an attachment. It ties you to the object of your hatred just as love ties you to the object of your love. Let it go, and you will be free.’ This statement had a profound impact on me. As I contemplated the wisdom of these words, I realized there is much hate in this world. Hate of other races. Hate of other cultures. Hate of just anything different from oneself. But what continues to foster this hate? I learned that it is our own attachment to the hate, which furthers it…” – Eric, high school

  • “After hearing you share with us at school…, I feel like a different person…I admire how you’ve encouraged us to embrace all of our similarities as a greatness, rather than to focus on our differences as things that separate us. This is really powerful, as we all have so much more in common with those around us than I think we usually notice. And the differences, they don’t matter as much. We all have similar values, no matter what we look like or practice…” – Preeti, high school

ON INNER-STRENGTH, PERSERVERENCE & HARD WORK…

  • “I would never have guessed that someone as happy, friendly, and funny as you could have gone through so much. Meeting you really gave me courage.” – Kochava, high school

  • “Through much effort, you climbed out of poverty.  Through hard work, you overcame the most atrocious events in human history and managed to create a good life for yourself. From you, I have learned the true meaning of hard work, and I will remember that for a long time to come.” –Jugraj, high school

  • “I was so inspired by your perseverance through the difficulties of your past and the infectious joy that surrounded you. It was a pleasure to listen to you talk and learn a little more about history.” – Katie, high school

  • “I also feel your pain. When I was little, my father and brother were killed…I can relate to when you had your hard times. Mine were not as bad, but they were hard. You taught me to keep on going and never give up on what I believe in. You also took responsibility for your life and did not try to pass off what you had to do on someone else. I have taken responsibility for my life by getting up and coming to school, doing my homework, and doing my chores… [T]hank you for your story because it showed me to never stop and never give up on my hopes and dreams no matter what happens in my life. Your story has also showed how strong you really are and how that can help other people become strong.” – Cristian, middle school

  • “You encouraged me to work harder, to strive to be the best and not just say it, but do it.” –Dymond, high school

  • “I can’t comprehend what it would be like to be a teenager and suddenly have to pick up everything and completely change your life. I would have been so scared. I wouldn’t have been able to learn a new language and culture so quickly. And I know that I couldn’t handle having to change my name and leave my family the way you did. You are so strong. It is truly inspiring to see how successful you were with regaining your life. I think that is incredible how you caught up on six years of schooling in one year and then later went on to get higher education. I can’t even imagine how difficult that would have been.” – Laura, high school

  • “[Your] speech meant a lot to me. It showed me that you have to stay confident and to stay positive all the time. You showed me that [the] worst things in life can turn positive, it just takes some time.” – Briana, middle school

  • “Your testimony gave me a lot to think about. I loved hearing about your journey to becoming an American citizen and your struggle to support yourself. You have achieved amazing things and really inspire me to work hard and not let others tell me how to live or influence my choices.” – Samantha, high school

  • “I learned that you should not take things for granted. I learned that if you believe and have persistence, you can make it in life…I have empathy for Mrs. Cord because I know how it feels to lose a family member….You taught me more about life. Thank you for telling us about the hard times in your life.” – Kimberly, middle school

  • “Confronting challenges makes us stronger and builds character. This applies to my life because when I run away from my problems, it just makes it worse.” – Aaron, middle school

  • “Sometimes I feel like my life is hard, but then when I think of what you’ve been through and what you’ve lost, it makes me appreciate what I have and inspires me to work harder.” ­– Jasmine, high school

  • “Honestly, I do not have any idea how someone could even endure the kind of life that you did, and I have the greatest respect for you. You are probably one of the strongest and wisest people…in this world, and there needs to be more like you.” – Sarah, high school

  • “Your story was both fascinating and breathtaking, but your strength and perseverance throughout all of your ordeals gives me hope that I too can remain strong no matter what trials and tribulations I am faced with in my lifetime. Besides your story, I am also so happy that you shared your wealth of knowledge with us. Your outlook on the world and your mission to spread absolute love identifies with me greatly.” – Lauren, high school

  • “I can’t even imagine losing a father and brother…and never seeing them again. I still don’t understand how you kept your secret and hid in all of those places. It must have been so tough to tame your emotions and keep any trace of being Jewish to yourself. I know how I always need to talk to someone about my life, the fact that you didn’t/couldn’t talk to anyone about your life, that must have taken so much strength!” – Brittani, high school

  • “You reminded me…of the importance of education, of the necessity of standing against oppression and persecution, of not dwelling in the darker bits of our personal stories but working to overcome them.” – Maha, high school

ON GETTING AN EDUCATION…

ON GETTING AN EDUCATION…

  • “I will never, and can never, forget you, your story, or your words. You have made me so empowered to help others with my words and appreciate my education much more.” – Olivia, high school

  • “Your lecture made me realize how important my education is to my life. You have made the girls at Western as well as myself open our eyes to see that we should appreciate our education and our identity.” – Lishannah, high school

  • “I used to think of school as nothing but an inconvenient nuisance, but your story helped me to look at it in a whole new light. Hearing about how you were six years behind on your education and caught up makes my own problems look so small…Now, whenever I start slacking off in my schoolwork or feeling sorry for myself, I think of what you went through and what you accomplished, and get back on topic.” – Dan, high school

  • “After hearing you speak though, I see that education isn’t just something that will get me a good career in my future. I understand now that education and knowledge can [not only] be a tool to help me get where I want to go, but also a defense to protect myself from others.” – Nicole, high school

  • “I didn’t realize how lucky I am for having a good education until you came and talked to us. Ever since then, I have not complained about having homework or having to take hard classes, because I am thankful for having teachers that care about us succeeding. This presentation…changed our lives forever and we will never forget your story and everything you taught us. You have inspired us to never give up and that we can get through anything that comes our way. You are a true inspiration.” – Kayla, high school

ON APPRECIATING FREEDOM...

  • “Learning about your experiences during the War…knowing the way that you struggled…opened my eyes to the problems and things that we don’t appreciate in our society today.” – Taylor, high school

  • “One thing you said is to take every opportunity given to you because you could wake up one day and it could all be gone…you never know when you could be stripped of everything that has been given to you, but as long as you have knowledge, you can survive everything.” –Tré, middle school

  • “I learned that in life today, we should not take advantage of the privileges we have.” –A’dajah, middle school

ON EDITH’S 1O LIFE LESSONS…

  • “I actually have “10 lessons from My Life” pinned on my wall because they contain so much wisdom and strong values I can read before I start my day.” – Delaney, high school

  • “I was very intrigued by your theory that the only things no one can take away are the thoughts in one’s head. It made me realize that I often take for granted the ability to have private thoughts and opinions.” – Emily, high school

  • “[You] helped me feel sympathy and empathy toward victims and survivors of the Holocaust because I was a victim of abuse. The lesson I can apply to my life would be low self-esteem leads to alienation and anger. Raise the sense of your own worth through achievement. I can relate to this one because I always had low self-esteem, which made me realize that I won’t get far in life if I continue to put myself down…You have also taught me that no matter how much I go through, don’t ever give up, keep my head high, and stay strong. You have also taught me not to look for excuses to fail because if you do you’ll find them.” – Lanei, middle school

  • “It is incredible to see how your loving heart works in conjunction with your motivated work ethic. Additionally, your life lessons are something that will stay in my heart forever; they are so poignant and true. Again, thank you so much for telling your story and imparting your wisdom on us.” – Celeste, high school

  • “The two lessons from Mrs. Cord I can apply [are] low self-esteem leads to alienation and anger and remember that everything can be taken away. If you have a low self-esteem you can destruct your life, you will never amount to anything because you will always be down and blue and I tell myself never become that way…I enjoyed it because you opened our eyes wide to see a lot of things and morals that are needed.” – Tynisha, middle school

  • “‘Remember that everything can be taken away from you, except what is in your head.’ This quote now hangs on the desk in my room. As I do homework each night, I start to complain that I do not want to read ten more pages or do five more math problems, and I read your quote. I think to myself that other children do not have the resources that I do. That I have the opportunity to become something great in my lifetime. In order to achieve that greatness, all that I need to do is read those extra ten pages or do those five problems…” – Hannah, high school

  • “Hearts pounding, brains processing the facts…eyes closing in sadness and horror, we listened to your tale of woe and thought, ‘I wish I was that brave. How did she do it?’ After reading your interesting and inspiring lessons from your life, I chose my favorite. ‘Knowledge is not enough. We need to develop the heart as well as the mind.’ This lesson inspires me in a way nothing else has. It inspires me to love more, open my heart and give 100%.”– Katerina, middle school

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© 2019 by Edith M. Cord