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FAMILY HERO:
GERDA WEISSMANN KLEIN
by Sarah from New York

Gerda Klein
(www.mcpherson.edu)
My great-great aunt Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Holocaust survivor. Here is a quote she said to me about the Holocaust:

“Remember the past to make a better future, always have hope, and never give up. Be a true friend even in hard times!”

Gerda Weissmann had a normal, happy childhood until she was fifteen. Gerda was born in Bielitz, Germany in 1924. She had an older brother named Arthur, whom she loved and looked up to. They lived together with their mother and father in a beautiful house with a garden. Gerda loved her family and loved school. She enjoyed reading and learning new things. Often Gerda would spend time in the garden with the beautiful flowers and smells.

In September of 1939, World War II rolled into Bielitz. Gerda was 15 and was not allowed to go to school or even out into her own garden because she was Jewish. The Nazis posted a sign in her garden that read, “No dogs or Jews allowed.” Her family was forced to live in the basement of their beloved home. The Nazis took over everything and sent her brother away to work. Arthur’s last words to Gerda were to “Be strong.” This was the beginning of Gerda’s heroic life.

Gerda Klein as a young girl (www.myhero.com)
My great-great aunt Gerda Weissmann Klein is unfortunately famous for being a Holocaust survivor. Gerda is an author of many books. My favorites are The Blue Rose, Promise of a New Spring, and All But My Life. Gerda has appeared on 60 minutes and Nightline, and she has won an Academy Award for the documentary called, One Survivor Remembers. Gerda is also a professional speaker. She travels around the world telling her story! Gerda and my great-great uncle Kurt Klein started a foundation to stop hunger and teach tolerance in the world. Gerda has turned her tragedy into triumph with her many accomplishments.

Helping others and her family are far more important to Gerda than the many awards and honors she has received. Gerda and her husband, Kurt, started a foundation called the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation to help stop hunger and teach tolerance around the world. Gerda was invited to speak in front of the General Assembly of United Nations on the 1st Official Holocaust Remembrance Day. She was also invited to Columbine High School on the first anniversary on the shooting that took place there to help the kids learn to move on after a tragedy, just like she did. She takes greatest pride in her beautiful family. She has 3 children, 8 grandchildren, 2 great-great nieces, and 1 great-great nephew.

Gerda has many heroic traits. For example, she is brave. She had to be brave to survive the concentration camps. She also had to be brave for her parents. She has to be brave to keep talking about this horrible thing and to tell her story. Gerda is also loyal and kind. She didn’t leave her friends; she held her friend Ilsa in her arms when she died and found her friend Susie dead. Gerda still feels the need to pay Susie their bet back of raspberries and cream. Another heroic trait Gerda has is that she never gives up. She kept walking in the death marches and lived under terrible conditions. Today she tries to prevent anything like the Holocaust from happening again. Gerda is a very heroic person.

As you can see, Gerda Klein is a very heroic person and a loving and kind great-great aunt. Gerda has taught me, along with many others, to have hope, always believe in yourself, never give up, use imagination and help people in need. I love my great-great aunt Gerda!


Written by Sarah from New York
Last changed on: 9/1/2011

The Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation creates the opportunity for young people to understand the world and translate that understanding into positive action.

United States Memorial Holocaust Museum Read a biography of Gerda and Kurt Klein.

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