|Estelle Nadel, Holocaust survivor|
Nadel now lives in Westminster.
Although Nadel now speaks publicly about her experience in the Holocaust, she kept her stories to herself for decades after leaving Poland. It took the request of a daughter-in-law, a teacher, to break her silence and speak to a class full of strangers about her experience. Since then, she has spoken to countless audiences about the Holocaust. But for Nadel, the speaking never gets easier.
“It took me many, many years to be able to talk about it,” she said. “I’ve talked now, hundreds of times, and things have not changed. I still cry every time. I relive the whole scenario.”
Despite the difficulty, Nadel says that she feels called to speak. As a witness to the Holocaust’s horrors, she feels that it’s her duty to rebuke those who deny that it happened.
“There’s very few survivors left, and a lot of them don’t want to talk about it. I want the world to know that there was a Holocaust.” she said. “There is so much denial, that every time I get a chance to tell my story, I feel like I’m fulfilling something, for something that people are denying.”
Asked what advice she’d offer those currently displaced by war, violence and humanitarian crisis, Nadel said to simply hold on, and never give up.
“I’d tell them, never to give up hope,” she said. “You do reach that point in your life, after a time, where it feels like there’s no hope, but you just keep plugging along, and hoping, and praying that your life will change. And I’ve encouraged people to never give up hope.”
Faith and hope were how Nadel herself got through the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. For Nadel, a strong faith in God saw her through the darkest times of her life.
“I prayed to God all the time as a little girl. That’s what kept me going,” she said.
Nadel will share her story at the Lunch and Learn event, which will also include a presentation about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and how its partnership with the International Tracing System (ITS) helps Holocaust survivors connect with family members and locate missing ancestors. Since its inception in 2007, the ITS has grown to include millions of documents, including grave locations, prisoner cards, deportation information, displaced persons applications and more. Dr. Diane Afoumado from the USHMM will be on hand to provide detail on the ITS database. The Lunch and Learn event will be held at noon Wednesday, January 20. To RSVP for January’s Lunch and Learn event, click here. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.