In honor of Holocaust Survivor Day, the DOROT community gathered to hear from Mira Rosenblatt, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor, and her daughter Belinda Levavi. The program was presented by Lasting Impressions: DOROT’s Legacy Project and brought together an intergenerational group of older adult community members, college interns and DOROT staff members over Zoom to listen to Mira's story of bravery and resilience.
Mira shared that she feels a responsibility to share her story, especially with people of younger generations. “Mira is one of only a handful of living Holocaust Survivors, so it is so important, especially for younger individuals, to hear her story while she is able to share it with us” shared Claire Nisen, Manager of Lasting Impressions.
Mira’s story begins in 1923 in Sosnowiec, Poland. She was one of six children, living in a home with a number of aunts, uncles and grandparents. In 1942, Mira was separated from her family at the age of 19 and sent to work in a labor camp. She remained in this camp until 1945 when she was taken on a grueling death march into Germany with over 1,000 other girls, during the coldest winter. Mira was able to escape from the march, hiding in the forest and sleeping in holes in the ground. She later blended-in with a family of farmers, pretending to be a German girl who lost her family.
As the war came to an end, Mira wrote a letter back home, to see if any of her family had survived. A former boyfriend received her letter and came to find her. They later married and settled in Germany before immigrating to New York where they raised their family and Mira still lives today. Mira’s daughter Belinda shared that her mother began telling her story to her children when they were very young, hoping to have her story remembered and heard by many.
After listening to her story, DOROT’s college interns were given the opportunity to ask Mira questions about her experiences and her life. When asked what advice she has for younger generations, Mira answered, “You cannot give up, you have to try to fight because you never know where you’ll end up. Be strong, fight for tomorrow. Even if tomorrow does not come you still have to fight. Never give up because if you give up you will be nothing. It is not easy to make it, but it is worth the fight.”
“Mira’s story is inspirational, and we are so grateful we had the chance to hear it and we hope to continue sharing her story with others,” college intern Megan Rait shared. She continued, “Hearing Mira speak with her daughter, Belinda, reminds us that if we are lucky enough to have family, we should share our stories with them and let them in on what memories are important to us.”
More of Mira’s experiences can be found in her book Strength: My Memoir, written in collaboration with her daughter Belinda Levavi. Mira was also profiled by The New York Times in March 2021 after receiving her COVID-19 vaccination. You can read the story here.
Story by Megan Rait, Impact and Evaluation & Marketing Intern
About Lasting Impressions:
Lasting Impressions: DOROT's Legacy Project invites older adults to record their important memories, beliefs, values and words of wisdom through a wide range of group legacy arts workshops--from poetry, to memoir, to legacy lectures and storytelling programs--as well as one-on-one pairings between older adults and volunteers.
Lasting Impressions: DOROT’s Legacy Project is generously supported by a grant from the Keller-Shatanoff Foundation.