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Holocaust Survivor Speaks at LMHS

Michael BornsteinFor 70 years, Holocaust survivor Michael Bornstein chose to stay silent about his story. He spotted the photo of his four-year-old self on book covers, museum walls and even in news footage used on major news networks every year as they acknowledged Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yet he was nervous about stepping forward to identify himself as the boy in the footage from Auschwitz because there was so much he could not remember. Then a document was discovered at a museum in Israel that revealed a stunning detail about his survival. Michael knew he had to share what he’d learned.

Together with his daughter Debbie Bornstein Holinstat, a broadcast news producer who started her career in Iowa in the 1990s, they began to dig for more information and planned to write a book. But even they never guessed the family secrets they would uncover as they researched their book, Survivors Club, which was published a year ago.

Now, armed with new information about his survival, and against a backdrop of rising antisemitic crimes worldwide, Michael and Debbie will share what they’ve learned as guest speakers at the 2018 Holocaust Remembrance Service. The two spoke to Linn-Mar High School students on Tuesday, April 17. It’s one of several public appearances the father and daughter will make this week. (Additional information on speaking events can be found by visiting the Holocaust Remembrance website. All of the speaking appearances are sponsored by the David and Joan Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund and the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County as part of the annual Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund funds the appearances. Dr. David and Joan Thaler established the fund in 1995 to provide support for education about the Holocaust to residents and students in Eastern Iowa. The fund provides support for academic courses about the Holocaust, public speakers, and other educational programs.