Adele Besserman, Holocaust Survivor
Adele Besserman and I sat together for hours. Over a cup of tea and cookies, she told me the stories of her life.
I am a stranger to Adele, having met with her only once before, we had lunch so she could “get to know me” and I her. Her generosity in sharing her experiences with me filled my heart as I could see as long as I was willing to listen, she was willing to tell. She would tell me of her childhood in Poland. Just 9 years old she would tell me of how one night her father disappeared, she knew he was soldier. How along with her mother and sister they fled to her grandmothers house which would later become the ghetto. How eventually she ran and hid in the forest until being liberated.
Her story is one of perseverance, courage and the will to survive at an age where she had little understanding of what was actually happening. After her family was liberated, she would tell me of the struggles of moving from place to place, of not having a home to go back to. She would tell me how she discovered her love of dance and would grow into a young independent woman.
“Love each other, forget about hate.” words she would say with a sort of knowing. Knowing it really is that simple. Why don’t we get it?
We would look through photos and she would share both sad and happy memories. She would pull me in and make me no longer a stranger.
If not now, then when? If not I, then who?
Although these words are not a direct quote from Adele Besserman, they are the words she lives by. “If not I then Who?” she would say to me as we talked. Adele shares her story often with teens and takes part in the March of the Living each year so youth can experience her story first hand. Adele celebrated her 90th birthday on March 24, 2020 and lives in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
To read more about Girl Noticed’s Holocaust Project or make a donation visit our page: “A People Forgot”
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