Irene seated at a book display table before her talk in Westwood MA.

Difficult Decisions. Or Are They?

You might be wondering why, or how, I can be promoting my book, “Shattered Stars, Healing Hearts: Unraveling My Father’s Holocaust Survival Story” right now. After all, war broke out in Israel two days after I first announced availability of my book. Jewish lives have been threatened around the world, in an increase in antisemitism not seen in decades. So, why am I promoting my book amid the turmoil? Why am I moving forward with presentations about my father’s Holocaust survival story—events that, arguably, could be increased targets for antisemitic protests? Please allow me to share my thoughts with you.

  1. If I don’t proceed, then “they” win. It’s as simple as that. I choose living my life on my own terms. That will take some courage and, of course, I will l take precautions as I feel appropriate. But I will continue to share my father’s story, to educate people about the dangers of totalitarianism and tyranny and bullying.
  1. The stories my father shared in his testimony video—the ones about the eighteen individuals who demonstrated courage, compassion, and kindness to help him survive—these stories are as important today as ever. Even when describing his experiences so many years later, my father saw the goodness in people amid the darkness. And I will continue to share this aspect of my father’s story as well. As human beings, we naturally want to help others. We just might need a gentle reminder that we can be the role model, a light, to others. We can demonstrate the power of courage, compassion, and kindness. Others will follow.

I hope that my message will remind my readers and listeners that each of us must act. We must not allow complacency to prevent us from doing what we know is the right thing to do. So, please help me to spread the word. I firmly believe there will be light again. I only need to look at the brooch my father painted. I see the rising sun inside a Magen David, shield of David, with the Hebrew words above it calling out: “Tikvat Yisrael.” Hope of Israel. Hope for the world.

More info about my book and events at

Photo: Me seated at book table before my talk in Westwood, MA on November 5, 2023.

Irene Stern Frielich regularly speaks about her father’s Holocaust survival experience and how she unraveled his story. She is a periodic blogger covering topics such as Holocaust and WWII history, current events, memory, and hope. She is also the owner of an award-winning instructional design consulting firm in Sharon, Massachusetts. Irene is deeply grateful to the eighteen courageous individuals who helped her family survive the Holocaust. She carries their legacy forward through her book and through her acclaimed multimedia presentations.

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