Marion Blumenthal Lazan was born in Bremen, Germany in 1934. Following Hitler’s rise to power, she and her family fled to the Netherlands, hoping to escape to the United States.
But after the Nazi invasion of Holland, they were forced to live for the next six and half years in refugee, transit, and prison camps which included Westerbork transit camp in Holland and the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.
Today, Marion Blumenthal Lazan, who lives in New York and is now 84, is a tireless Holocaust survivor speaker with a message about the importance of respect and tolerance. She believes in the power of positive thinking, creativity, and inner strength to overcome adversity.
She will present the keynote address Sunday, Jan. 20 at an annual Holocaust Remembrance event in Atlanta called “Hope and Perseverance.” The event is free and open to the public. The event is organized by Am Yisrael Chai, a local Holocaust awareness and education organization.
Though she and her family survived the camps, Marion’s father, Walter Blumenthal, died from typhus just after liberation. About three years later, Marion, her brother Albert, and their mother, obtained the necessary papers to board a ship and immigrate to the United States.
She said her message is very simple “but so difficult to achieve.”
“Just to be kind and good and compassionate towards one another regardless of one’s religious beliefs, color of skin or national origin,” she said. “That is the basis for peace and had there been respect and tolerance 70 or 80 years ago, we would not be discussing this subject.”
She said it’s important to look at the positive side of life, to focus on the good and try to discard negativity.
Blumenthal Lazan lived in various camps from the time she was 4 years old to just over 10 years of age. She credits her mother (who recently passed away 6 weeks shy of 105) for helping her remain hopeful.
On Jan. 21, the day after the Holocaust remembrance event, Am Yisrael Chai is organizing a special planting of daffodils at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody (4770 N. Peachtree Rd) Dunwoody as part of the Daffodil Project. Am Yisrael Chai, a local Holocaust awareness and education organization, hopes to build a Holocaust memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils around the globe in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. The Jan. 21 planting, from 9 a.m. until noon, is scheduled as an MLK Day of Service event which also includes planting trees, cleaning up the Dunwoody park, and making a donation of non-perishable food items to one of the donation bins on the day of the event at the pavilion at Brook Run Park. (You can sign up to volunteer by clicking here or going to the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber web site and clicking on calendar tab for Jan. 21).
About the annual Holocaust Remembrance event
The annual Holocaust Remembrance event in Atlanta called “Hope and Perseverance” Sunday, Jan. 20. Free but RSVP required here. Doors open at 6 p.m. with exhibit and the event is from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. followed by a book signing. Byers Theatre at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs.
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