It was April 1, 1945. My father, with his mother (my Oma) and his grandmother–and the Lansink family who hid them on their farm–were liberated. It was a Sunday.

I am saying prayers that everyone, everywhere, will be freed from totalitarianism, freed from war, from poverty, from ill-health, from natural disasters. Prayers alone are not enough, let us also stand up and speak out to help make our world a better place. It is up to us.

My father shared in his testimony video about April 1, 1945, “And we were told, ‘You are free. The war is over! … And we came downstairs and the Canadian solider said to my mother, ‘You know, the button came off my pants. Can you sew it?’ And it was like a mitzvah (good deed)!”

A mitzvah! My father laughed with glee as he retold of this button-sewing request as the soldier doing a good deed for my Oma, asking her to perform her first act in freedom. “She was smiling and enjoying every moment of it and she sewed the button on.”

Do we take for granted even the simplest everyday acts? My Oma didn’t. My father didn’t. They knew what it was like to lose their freedom, their safety. And they knew what it was like to live life once again.

Read more about Liberation Day on the Lansink farm in Shattered Stars, Healing Hearts: Unraveling My Father’s Holocaust Survival Story, Chapter 40: The Button.

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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