What people are saying about Holocaust Speaker Marion Blumenthal Lazan
Upwards of two million students and adults have heard Marion Blumenthal Lazan share her Holocaust experiences, and messages of respect and tolerance. She has spoken in public, parochial and private schools, colleges and universities, to church and synagogue groups, and to civic organizations, in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and in her home state of New York. Marion has also spoken in Germany, Holland, Israel, Mexico, and the UK. It is not unusual for a person to be moved to write Marion after attending her presentation.
—————–What Educators, Clergy and Parents have said:
“Personal memoirs have no equal in their weight of truth and memory – yours have educated so many. May you continue to tell and retell your story for years and years.” – Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate
“I am (also) deeply grateful for your participation in the Shoah Foundation’s project. Your dedication to Holocaust awareness is incredibly important and is so meaningful to ensure that future generations will be able to learn about the Holocaust from those who survived.” – Steven Spielberg
“Your work in our schools is deeply appreciated. May God bless you for your kindness.” – John Cardinal O’Connor (of blessed memory), Archbishop of New York
February 5, 2021 “Marion and Nathaniel, I wanted to thank you for all your help in getting the Zoom meeting with North Mercer set up. Marion, you did a wonderful job of telling your story, and it was truly a once in a lifetime experience for us. I am sure it is hard to relive the trauma and the pain, but we are grateful you are sharing your story. I have spent yesterday and today talking to the students about it and it’s easy to tell this will leave a lasting impression on them. I am so thankful we had the opportunity to hear your story.
Many of the students are still in shock that we actually got to speak to you after we’ve spent weeks learning about your story and others. They have already shared your story with their siblings, parents, and even grandparents. I have had community members shar with me how thankful they are that the students are learning, and more importantly, sharing the story. I think many of them are better understanding, after listening to you, how important it is that they share. Thank you again and please keep in touch!, Heather” – Heather Michaelis, Social Studies Teacher, North Mercer RV 3, Mercer, MO
“I just want to say thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story with my campus community. Most of these people have never heard from a Holocaust Survivor like yourself. You were amazing and I couldn’t of asked for a better program. You definitely reached so many people.” Maxwell Sager, Hillel President, Birmingham Southern University, AL
“Thank you for coming to our school to speak about an issue that I know is your passion. You are a wonderfully fluent speaker. Being able to seamlessly insert life lessons on respect, while telling your compelling story was amazing. You even managed to speak how this applies to technology. In addition, keeping an entire student body’s rapt attention is no small feat, yet you accomplished just that.
After speaking with teachers, I know all of the classrooms were abuzz with chatter about the Holocaust and your presentation. Students were amazed by what you had been able to accomplish despite your childhood. Hopefully, your stories of the atrocities suffered by the innocent has provided them with a better understanding of what can happen if we don’t treat one another with respect. Sincerely, Jean Drozd.” – 6th Grade Teacher, Ken Olson Middle School, Tabernacle, NJ
“Marion, that was amazing! Thank you so very much for taking the time to speak with our students today. Your message of remembrance, hope for peace in the future, and persistence was truly appreciated by all. As one teacher described your presentation “It is a great gift to hear the story of a holocaust survivor firsthand. Listening brings a humanity to the horrors and helps us to avoid repeating the mistakes of history” We are all so very grateful, thank you.I would love to plan to do this again next year, in person with larger audience. Best wishes, Todd” – Todd Fawcett, Headmaster Dexter Southfield Middle School, Brookline, MA
“Marion – I am not sure if I can put into words what meeting you & listening to your story means. You are an extraordinary woman with so much knowledge and positivity to share with the youth of this country. Our students spoke so highly of you, and many parents commented on their child’s excitement to tell them “all about you.” In a year of uncertainty, a global pandemic, multiple movements and uprisers, you were a breath of fresh air and inspiration. I hope to continue to stay in touch, and even look forward to meeting you in person. Stay well! Love, Meka” – Meka Osterhoudt, Teacher, Fonda-Fultonville Middle School, Fonda, NY
“Good afternoon, I’m not quite sure how to write in an email how grateful and blessed we all were to listen (virtually) to your story today.
Everyone that saw you speak, stopped by to tell me how amazing and powerful your message was. We were all changed here at Wall Intermediate School today, and that is because of you. Thank you for your strength, bravery, and willingness to share this horrifying time in your life in order to make way for a better future. Tomorrow we will be listening to the beautiful song and reflecting on the time that we spent with you today.
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I hope you have a very happy birthday and year ahead Nathaniel! Your friend, Alyson” – Alyson Ehrlich, Teacher, Wall Intermediate School, Wall, NJ
“Thank you so much for such a wonderful presentation today! Such an amazing positive response from teachers and students. We all truly appreciate it.” – Sara Natrillo, Library Media Specialist, Torrington High School, CT
“Dear Marion, I was so delighted to see you and Nathaniel on the webinar on January 9th, Each time I hear you present, I hear something different and something new. It happened again on that day, too. We have such fond memories of your visits. So many students (and teachers) benefited from learning your story and listening to your advice. Thank you for that you do. Fondly, Carol” – Carol Boig, 6th grade teacher, Eagle Hill Middle School, Manlius, NY
“Dear Marion & Nathaniel,
The admiration and love I have for you goes beyond words. The world needs to hear your story. The classes were captivated. You are both beautiful humans whose positive impact lasts forever!
Love, Melissa Rice” – Watson Elementary School, Rockville Centre, NY
“Dear Mrs. Blumenthal Lazan, thank you so much for coming to HALB today. We feel so honored and appreciative that you are sharing your story as a survivor with our middle school students. Enabling the students to hear a survivor’s account firsthand is an experience they will always remember and assure that that the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten. We wish you good health and all the best. Sincerely, Mrs. Marjorie Wein, Principal” – Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, NY
“Dear Marion, I started teaching 5th grade at Watson 7 years ago – that was the first time I heard you speak. Since then, I have heard you speak at Sisterhood meetings, other schools, and now over Zoom! Your spirit transcends even your powerful words. You are an inspiration and you have impacted many lives. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for sharing yourself with all of us. Love, Melissa Rice”- Watson Elementary School, Rockville Centre, NY
“I can’t thank you enough for the time, and messages, you shared with us today. After COVID, it’s been quite a while since we have brought our entire school community together, even virtually, to do something like this; and I promise you it was impactful.
As I walked the building, both students and teachers were amazed by your story. It’s all that anyone is talking about, and the reviews are raving! Marion, my many thanks to you.
You are truly a gift to us. Heath” Averill Park High School Heath Quilea, Principal
“Marion, I echo Heath’s comments. The presentation was simply wonderful. Our students were so engaged and your important messages came through with tremendous clarity for our students. We cannot say thank you enough for all you have done. We are so fortunate to have heard from you today. Thank you again, Rob.”Robert Messia, Algonquin Middle School, Averil Park, NY
“Dear Marion, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with the SKCS students and staff. The message you send is a powerful one and one filled with hope for the next generation. I wish you and Nathaniel all the best, Ellen Pringle” – South Kortright Central High School, NY
“Marion was totally amazing and I am so so grateful that I was able to hear her speak. It was the most frank and open discussion of the experience of the concentration camps that I’ve ever heard a survivor share in person. The power of that was remarkable. Marion’s courage to do that, to open up in that way and share the intimacy of that horror, is humbling. It’s also desperately needed, alas, for us ever to be able to prevent the recurrence of the holocaust. What’s also extraordinary about her is that she has translated all of that pain into a loving, inclusive perspective and an invocation for everyone to accept the beliefs and the characteristics of others no matter what their origin might be. She is truly light and a peace builder of extraordinary spiritual beauty and strength. Also, please tell her I send my love and extraordinary admiration and gratitude., Oxox, Peter”
Peter Yarow (of Peter, Paul and Mary)
Marion- I have never seen a group of 250 middle schoolers engaged for over an hour without music, dancing, or ice skating- they are so blessed to have had the opportunity to hear your story- with deep gratitude-
Bini! – Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, Principal, SAR Acadeny, Riverdale, NY
I am so sorry to bother you at this hour of night. But I’m compelled to tell you how grateful I am. Today you changed my child’s life. I’m sitting here discussing your bravery with my daughter. As tears stream down her face. The soup, the car driving by, the inspections, a mother’s love, your kind wave and warm smile. I’ve always been passionate about speaking out about the horrid injustices of the holocaust. But YOUR story….has brought more awareness then I ever could. Thank you so much for speaking out. Your story and bravery will live on forever in the hearts of many forever. God Bless You,
Abigail Holt, Parent, Mt. Zion, IL
“Marion and Nathaniel, I am breaking down the equipment right now to get to my next destination but I could NOT move on without reaching out to you right away to thank you. Marion—my emotions are all brimming at the surface and I don’t know what to say. Your life story is a very, very touching one that is so very hard to hear but SO VERY IMPORTANT TO HEAR. I hope and pray that you will continue to reach people the way I know you reached our participants today (the gasps I heard, the tears I saw, the number of people who just involuntarily grabbed their hearts while you spoke…); I genuinely believe that through your experiences and your willingness to share your stories the world IS and will continue to become better than it was for you.What a love story you and Nathaniel have! What a life story you have written together. Your spectacular and incredibly special children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren… you have created a very beautiful and very important legacy.
THANK YOU for sharing your life with us. Thank you for the invaluable role you have played in this life. Thank you for inspiring MILLIONS during your life… and that number will only grow. There is information out there—yes. MAY WE NEVER, EVER FORGET. But you’re right—the opportunities to have access to the INDESCRIBABLE first-hand accounts live and in the moment will become fewer. Thank you for speaking your words and emoting so beautifully; may your words always live on… may they always teach us. I am honored to have been able to connect with you and chat with you in person; I will never be the same. Thank you… SO MUCH. ❤️
All the best to the both of you amazing human beings!!!!”
Kristin Edwards, Distance Learning Specialist, Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation, Mexico, NY 13114
“Marion, you were AMAZING!!! You literally took my breath away!! I’m getting so many “thank you” messages from the other schools. Continue doing this! Spread the message – I will continue doing what I can as well, but I’m nowhere near as well-versed as you are!! May God continue to bless you both! Keri.” – Mrs. Keri Sanders. Fifth Grade Teacher, New Georgia Elementary School, Villa Rica
Hello Marion and Nathaniel,
“We are still in awe after your visit yesterday. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was moving and is still the topic of so many conversations at kitchen tables and hallways—we’ve heard that students went home and talked to their families about it. Thank you for the emotional sacrifice it must be to retell such tragic and scary events, Carrie”
Carrie Styles, Schoharie Jr/Sr High School, Schoharie, NY
“What an incredible event! I wish you could have seen the reactions in the audience – when you closed out and said goodbye, everyone in the auditorium was standing up applauding. You touched many people last night – over 100 students in the auditorium and nearly 200 more on the Zoom. The recording is now circulating as well. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive – people approached me in person to compliment you, and messages piled in from Zoom attendees admiring your strength and the power of your presentation.” – Joseph D. Abeles, Hillel Director, Maryville University Hillel, St. Louis. MO
“Dear Marion, You kept the attention of over two hundred 5th grade students as you shared your experiences virtually with them on Thursday. How fortunate they were to hear your story and learn the truth from you! Your presentation was informative, you made everything relatable, gave them words to live by and connected with what’s happening in our world today. Thank you for taking such care and tenderness in answering the students’ questions and listening to their thoughts. I know that so many will keep your words with them as they grow.
Both you and Nathaniel, your tech wizard, your partner, made the day just perfect! I truly loved meeting and working with both of you and hope that next year it’s in person, in Sea Cliff! Wishing you both a wonderful, relaxing summer. Warm regards, Elyse” – Elyse Kushel, LMS, Sea Cliff Elementary School, Sea Cliff, NY
“Dear Marion and Nathaniel, I can’t thank you enough for spending time with today. Your message is so timely and powerful and is absolutely what our students need to hear. And your story gives your message the credibility that compares to none. So grateful for you both! Again, HUGE thanks to you for sharing your story. We hope that you can come back next year in person! We would love that! Have a wonderful summer and ALLES GUTE!, Mona” – Mona Goble, German Teacher, Mexico Middle School & Mexico High School, Mexico, NY
“On behalf of the students of Sullivan Middle School, I would like to thank you for speaking to us about your experiences and for sharing with us your message of being kind, good, and respectful to all. As you were speaking to us via Zoom, I looked out at my students and noticed that every single eye was on the screen. They were captivated by your story, and I am so thankful to have been able to share in this experience with them., hank you.” = Caiden Webb, 7th & 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Sullivan, IL
“Marion-I still have chills. What an amazing speaker you are. My classroom was silent the entire time, a few peeps for tears here and there and exploded with emotions upon the virtual presentation’s end. You are a positive, inspirational and powerful woman.” Meka Osterhoudt, Teacher, Fonda-Fultonville Middle School, Fonda, NY
“Words cannot express how much we loved your (virtual) presentation today. We had some rich discussions with the students and staff this afternoon, and your message was taken to heart for sure. We are already looking forward to seeing you in person next year!. We will be in touch with the names for the book purchases. In addition, could you please email me your mailing address because we have a few things to send you in appreciation for all of your efforts. Thank you again for everything. We are all blessed to know you and we look forward to our next encounter. Please take care and keep in touch my friends!, Jill” – Jill Truax, Teacher, Pulaski Middle-High School, Pulaski, NY
“Dear Mrs. Blumenthal Lazan, Words cannot describe the thanks and gratitude that are owed to you for (virtually) sharing your story. Your presentation was a unique experience for all the students and staff. And both are still talking about it weeks later. There is no better way to teach your story than to have the first-hand experience of listening to it!
I know you have heard a million times, so let this be the millionth and one: without your presentations, the emotional trials and tribulations of history will be lost forever. Thank you for dedicating yourself to sharing the unpleasant horrors of history and your personal experience. With your dedication, we all learn never to repeat the mistakes of the past. May blessings and peace continue to be yours.
Sincerely, Mrs. Claudia Marshall” – Eisenhower Middle School 8th Grade Teacher, Rockford, IL
“Marion – We simply cannot thank you enough for the time to speak (virtually) to our students with so much wisdom and love. Your story is remarkable, but you as a person are even more so. Thank you, thank you, thank you. All the best to you and Nathaniel, Candy” – Candy Davis, Literary Coach, South Oldham Middle School, Crestwood, KY
“Dear Marion and Nathaniel – I can’t thank you enough for this morning’s virtual presentation. You are an inspiration and your story is one that must be heard! The recording of today’s presentation will be provided for the entire school to view. Students will watch it in either their English or History classes.
I feel blessed that I have been given the opportunity to meet you both and you will always hold a special place in my heart. Please continue to keep in touch.
Love to you both, Krys.” – Krys Bashista, Stafford High School, Fredericksburg, VA
“Hello Marion and Nathaniel,- we are still in awe after your visit yesterday. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was moving and is still the topic of so many conversations at kitchen tables and hallways—we’ve heard that students went home and talked to their families about it.
Also, we want to send you some thank yous.
I hope we can stay in touch…Carrie.”
Carrie Styles,6-12 Music Teacher, Schoharie School, Schoharie, NY
“I can’t thank you enough for speaking virtually with my students. Everyone enjoyed listening to you. I am in awe of your positivity. You have an amazing message, and I feel we all as adults and young adults benefited so much from listening to you. It was truly an honor and a privilege to learn from you today.
Thank you again for giving us this opportunity. You are an amazing woman, such an inspiration., Stephanie Breedlove” – Marietta Elementary School, Marietta, MS
“Marion, – Students and teachers are still talking about your (Zoom) visit! Students were talking with me all day about your important and positive messages, but also about YOU! Students have marveled at your resilience, determination, and the power of your positive attitude. They will not forget you! I am collecting book orders this week and will get the list of names for book plates to you early next week. Several students have asked if I would post our Zoom visit on Google classroom so they can share your message with their family. All of our Zoom meetings are automatically recorded, but I do not want to share anything without your approval. Thank you again for sharing your story and messages with us., Sincerely, Amy” – Amy Shubert, 8th Grade ELA Teacher, Mascoutah Middle School, Mascoutah, IL
“Dear Marion, you are an inspiration for all of us! Thank you for passing on your message of hope and courage! With love.” –the 5th Grade Team = Andrea Grubb, Laura Geyser, Melissa Rice & Erica Retweg , Watson Elementary School, Rockville, Centre, NY
“Dear Marion and Nathaniel, THANK YOU for the (virtual) beautiful and impacting presentation given to CSN teachers and students today. I had a stream of both students and teachers stopping by my office to gush how wonderful and touching your words were and how many messages there were to take away. You provide an alternative context from which to view living. Several teachers asked to please have you come to campus when Covid-19 is done! And—yes—I will probably be emailing next year for another visit. CSN Upper School students need to spend time with you. Again, many thanks, Colleen.” – Colleen O. Potocki, Head of Middle School, Community School of Naples, Naples, FL
“Marion, I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful day. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you and Nathaniel, and I am so happy that I was able to “meet” you and hear you share your testimony. You were so clear, poised, caring, and impactful and I am so happy that the students were able to hear of your experiences and receive your messages and lessons. The feedback from teachers and students was so positive as well. Thank you again! Sincerely, Christina” – Christina Cone, District Social Studies Chairperson , Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, Sanford H. Calhoun High School, Merrick Avenue Middle School, Merrick, MY
“Thank you so much for inviting us to join in on your (virtual) Iowa engagement this morning! Our students were mesmerized… as was I! You are so inspirational and have had such an amazing outlook on life despite its tumultuous beginning!… I’m so sorry – I tend to overuse the exclamation points! Thank you again so much for allowing us to join in, and many blessings to you and your family! Fondly, Leticia” – Leticia Fournier, Teacher, Christ the Divine Teacher School, Latrobe, PA
“Marion. Your visits are always so compelling and I leave with a new and important thought each time. The children, as usual, were mesmerized, horrified and just as in person, felt your warmth and hugs. They commented on your positivity and connected it to the current Covid 19 situation. We agreed that life has changed for us, but we still have the 3 Bs—bed, bath, bread.
Personally, I am so grateful that you were able to Zoom into our classrooms this year. I will be retiring from Hewitt in June, so yesterday’s visit was especially meaningful. I do want you to know that if you ever need my help, in any way, I am available to you. You two are such a successful team, but I’m happy to assist in any way. Bringing your story to as many adults and children as possible is so important, even more so as there are voices out there denying that the Holocaust even happened, Kathi.
PS The children send their hugs to both of you. You have truly touched their lives.” – Kathleen Glass, Teacher, Hewitt Elementary School, Rockville Centre, NY
“First of all, yesterday was spectacular! Our students and staff were all mesmerized by your story and your message. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being willing to share it (virtually) with us. Jennifer – Jennifer Williams, Teacher, Monroe Jr & Senior High School, Monroe, OH
“Marion – Thank you SO much for Zooming in for our kids. It was great to “see” you again and hear your amazing message! I am grateful that you are still speaking and sharing your story, and continue to stay well. I pray for you and Nathaniel as you continue to share such an important message. Thank you again for blessing our Kids! Blessings, Crystal” – Crystal Szymanski, Principal, Stillwater Junior High School, OK
“Marion, I also wanted to tell you that I have never had a guest like you! I have received so many compliments and thank you’ s from teachers, students, and parents! I do wish we could have had a longer time, or get you (virtually) again. We have so much to learn from you. The students had so many great questions to ask you as well! Roberta” – Roberta Hance, Media Specialist, League Academy, Greenville, SC
“Again I would like to thank you for the wonderful zoom presentation at RMS. Despite the challenging times with the pandemic, your virtual presentation was outstanding and well received by all! God willing, next year you’ll be here in person. Thanks again to both you and Nathaniel (the man behind the scenes).
Stay safe and healthy. Warm Regards Always, Christine” – Christine Valente, School Counselor, Ronkonkoma Middle School, NY
March 4, 2021 “Dear Marion & Nathaniel, Thank you so much for virtually visiting Granby Memorial Middle School last week to speak with our 8th Grade Class. Your words, your message, and your presence, was so meaningful to all of us, Shirley.” Shirley Cowles, Enrichment Coach and Teacher, Granby Memorial Middle School, Granby, CT
"Thank you so much for our virtual visit. It truly was an honor to listen to your story today. We are so grateful that you are willing to share that part of your life, because it is vital that these first-hand accounts are shared with future generations. Our students loved reading your book and getting to actually “meet” you today. Thank you for making the presentation relevant to these kids. They have learned so much from you. (It was also nice to meet your husband.)We look forward to setting up another visit next year." Mary Elizabeth Van Heule,5th Grade, Concord Elementary School, Anderson, SC
“Hi Marion and Nathaniel, How are you? I hope all is well and things are going great. And I hope you had a wonderful trip home last Tuesday. I just wanted to send you a note on behalf of the entire Kennedy Middle School Community for your visit last Tuesday. It truly was an amazing and memorable experience. The student and staff were talking about your visit for the rest of week….and how wonderful you both were. When chatting with students in class, there were so many different lessons they took away about history, life, and being a member of a community. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to share your experiences with us. Of all of the programs that we have had come through are school – and we have had quite a few in my years here – this is definitely one I will carry with me my entire life. You not only shared your time with us, but you left us feeling better about ourselves and each other….which is never an easy thing to do. It was an honor and pleasure to meet both of you…and I look forward to having you join us again in the future (as long as you don’t mind a return visit…lol). Here’s wishing you a great rest of spring, safe travels, and sunny weather. I will definitely be in touch, even if it is just to touch base and say hello. Thanks again!!!! All the best, Chris.
P.S. I did notice that the pictures came in via email over the weekend….thanks so much for sharing those as well.” – Christopher Forest, Kennedy Middle School, Natick, MA
“Marion – What a blessing it was to have you speak at Dowling Catholic High School. Your message and how you connected with our students was amazing. The passion and genuine love for life, and for future generations, was evident. Your presentation and the pictures you painted with your stories will live with me and our students forever. We pray for your continued strength to continue delivering your message across the country!
P.S. My wife & son went to Drake University that night to hear you speak. They were impressed and moved as well. – Matt Meendering, Principal, Dowling Catholic High School, West Des Moines, IA
Marion, this is Alan Rhees. I hope my text is not arriving so late that it disrupts your evening. I was so excited to hear Kaye’s report that you and Nathaniel are well despite the many challenges you have both faced recently. I am also astonished at your memory! With all the amazing places you’ve been and wonderful people you’ve met, the fact that you remember your visit here amazes me.
We recently finished reading Four Perfect Pebbles in class. It is always the first book we read every year since you visited (2005). I believe that your story is the most important one my students will read. The tragic parallels from your life that are reasserting themselves in this day and time make me heartsick. Yet, the positivity you radiate always makes me hopeful for our future. Thanks for sharing the experiences you had. It must be a trial to relive them over and over at each retelling, but you have made a huge difference in each of my students’ lives. Vielen Dank! I hope you remain well. Tell Nathaniel hello from us, and best wishes for you and your family. –Alan Rhees, Teacher, Lomond View Elementary School, Lomond, UT
“Dear Marion, It was such a true pleasure having the opportunity to spend Friday with you. Marion, hearing you speak in front of 650 mesmerized seventh and eighth graders was something to behold. They were completely engaged and asked thoughtful questions. The hugging and tears that followed demonstrates the impact you had on the students. Your gentle and beautiful way of reaching out to each person is a gift. You spread not only the historic experience you lived through but the beautiful message that our world needs to hear, especially the younger generation. I feel honored to know you. With love and respect, Jody.” – Jody Marcus, NCJW, Parker Junior High School, Flossie, IL
“Good Afternoon Marion, I am writing to you as a staff person at the Jewish Federation of Reading. I was in the audience and had the opportunity to hear you speak on Sunday evening. I heard you many years ago when you appeared in Reading to commemorate Yom Hashoah with your husband.
Honestly, your presentation was superb. Those of us who are Jewish have heard your story as well as many other survivors. The Christian community, many of whom were truly hearing a personal account of a Holocaust survivor for the first time, were saddened by your childhood experience and, at the same time, amazed by the tenacity of your spirit and the beauty of the life you have made for yourself and your family.
They could not have chosen a better person to be part of that evening. You are an inspiration to all of us to continue to strive for a better world by starting with ourselves. I wish you and your family peace and good health for the New Year and may you go forth and reach as many people as possible with your life’s story.” – Barbara Nazimov
“Marion, What a treat to spend Tuesday with you and Nathaniel! It gives me such hope to see the next generation respond so tenderly to your message. Perhaps the greatest gift you so generously offer are the hugs at the conclusion. After learning about all the loss and grief, love must rush in to fill the broken places, to celebrate and to remind us of the hope we have. There were 2 long lines for hugs!
You bring to life the history and truth that no text book or film can provide. You bring awareness at a heart level that only comes from connection in person. The photos that Nathaniel archives and sends to people are their personal treasure, their thread of connection.
I am so grateful my daughters have both heard you share your experience. My own mother shared her memories with them of the war (from her 7 year old perspective) of collecting iron, food rations, black outs and writing letters with her mother to the soldiers fighting abroad. I have two stacks of letters that the soldiers wrote back to her. We have shared them at school as well. You and Nathaniel are just a joy to be with. Thank you a thousand times for giving your whole heart to so many. Love always, Caroline” – – Caroline S., School Nurse, Williston, VT
“What an amazing experience this morning!! Your presentation was wonderful, inspiring, and engaging. The kids were spell-bound by your experiences and captured in your challenges for them. It was incredibly exciting to see hundreds of kids stay after the assembly to ask you questions, simply greet you, and get hugs. As a teacher, your stories elicited some really meaningful discussions and provided me with the opportunity to challenge them with a “so what” question. “So what are you going to do to make your world more peaceful, more respectful, and more caring?” They had some very concrete answers to that question and were willing to commit to never letting hatred and prejudice direct their attitudes and behaviors.
Here are some of the comments I heard from kids after the assembly:
1) “Hearing her first-hand experiences from the Holocaust was really interesting, very sad, and encouraging…like how she kept her hope.”
2) “Having her here at our school to actually meet her was really great. I like reading about Elie Wiesel, but actually hearing her and meeting her seemed to mean more.”
3) “I understand how fortunate I am to hear a Holocaust survivor today. There are fewer and fewer of them, and like Marion said, my generation will need to continue to tell the story.”
4) “She was just so sweet and stayed around to give hugs and meet us…I liked that a lot.”
5) “I would love to have her for my grandma…she was so brave and found ways to survive.”
6) “I understand the horrors of the Holocaust more today than yesterday. I want to take her courage and leader for peace and respect on campus.”
Thanks for a terrific experience for our students and staff!!!” – Dale Whitehurst, Teacher, Beattie Middle School, Highland, CA
Dear Marion, Thank you so much for sending those beautiful photos. Your visit made such an impact on our school – the message of love, acceptance and positivity was one that our kids really responded to. Honestly, there were some students lining up for a hug who I would never have pictured doing so in a million years! I’ll chalk it up to the power of love. – Gary Mezzi, Library Media Specialist, Nathan Hale-Ray High School, Moodus, CT
“Dear Marion, and dear Nathaniel, Thank you so much for sending us these wonderful photos. They will always remind us of the privilege we’ve had in meeting you. Your visit at our school has left a lasting impression on our whole school community. Both students and teachers have approached us afterwards, telling us how touched they were by your story and your personality. We were all enthralled by the positivity that you bring which is so remarkable in light of the dreadful things you had to endure. Your message of love, tolerance and respect will stay with the students and us forever. Whenever you plan another trip to Germany, please make sure to contact us so we can meet again. Thank you so much for your visit. Best wishes” – Brigitte Helm & Raphael Heinrich Principal and Assistant Principal, Gymnasium Sophienschule, Hannover, Germany
“Staff, former students, and parents are still talking about the amazing presentation from almost two years ago! We would love to have you back if it can work with your schedule.” – Ellen Noonan, Teacher, James Hart School, Homewood, IL
“Dear Marion, thank you so very much for your impassioned and wonderful presentation. I’ve never seen my school community moved by a presentation the way yours moved the kids. …………your message of kindness will live on with them for a long time.” – Sean Bevan, Principal, Westwood High School, Westwood, MA
“I have had the pleasure of hearing you speak in the past and am so grateful that you share your experiences for our children to learn and really understand what they are learning about in the classroom. We would love to have you back again this year.” Lisa Edwards, PTSA President, Longwood Jr High School, Middle Island, NY
“Marion, I had the wonderful privilege of hearing your presentation at Gouverneur Middle School in Gouverneur, NY a few years ago. Your grace and eloquence stood in stark contrast with the realities of your story and of your journey. It has remained with me ever since. As a teacher of 15 years I have seen many presentations and yours was the most compelling I’ve ever heard. The recent events in our country have really shaken me and they concern me greatly, as I’m sure they do you as well. If you are in the Northern New York area anytime in the future I would love to have you come and speak to the men of our local Masonic Lodge, of which I am currently in charge of. We would be honored and humbled to hear your story and your message; both of which seem to be sorely missing in our world today. I hope that this email finds you well and I thank you for all that you do on a daily basis to educate us all.” –Richard Haynes, Gouverneur Lodge #217 Gouverneur, NY 13642
“Hello Marion and Nathaniel – Just wanted to once again thank you for such an inspiring address yesterday! I have heard many, many positive remarks about your storytelling from both students and teachers alike. What I know impressed people most of all is how you personify your stated lessons of the Holocaust: despite the unimaginable brutality, this remains a beautiful life, and with compassion and kindness we can all individually make the world a better place through simple adjustments to our daily lives. What a wonderfully powerful message to take with us as we conclude yet another year. With deep appreciation.” – Kevin Delaney, History Department Head, Wayland High School, MA
“Thank you for visiting the Augusta High School yesterday. You are truly inspiring and it was such an honor to meet you. You touched so many lives in the short time you were with us. I look forward to following you and witnessing all of the other people you inspire.
Thank you for all that you do.” Tricia Brown, Administrative Assistant, Augusta High School, KS
“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Lazan, I wanted you guys to know that your visit to our school was wonderful. The best part of your visit was the change I saw in the students. We needed to hear your story of hope and to learn about being respectful to one another. I have seen the students’ heart change to a more caring and loving attitude. Thank you so much for your honesty and for telling your story to us. You both are such blessings. We have received the CD with all of the wonderful pictures. I am sharing them on the school news program next week to remember the day of your visit and how important it is to have hope and to really care about how we treat others.”– Dana Mims, LMS, Bumpus Middle School, Hoover, AL
“I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story with the kids at Wilson school in Rockville Centre yesterday. My son came home very focused, interested, and horrified by the holocaust. My husband and I had discussed this with him in the past (and he has also read the Diary of Ann Frank and a few other age-appropriate books) but I think having a person who actually survived to tell their own personal story first-hand had an impact that was really meaningful and will be lasting for him. Getting him to talk about school is usually a little bit like pulling teeth but last night he was so moved and engaged and I thought that it was important to see him so focused on such an important topic. Thank you.” Parent of a 5th grader
“Good evening, Marion. I hope you made it home safely and quicker than it took you to get to CT!
I can’t thank you enough for today. There are no words to express how much I admire what you do day after day for all of us. When I returned to school and brought the books to classrooms, the kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on them. The teachers told me what positive feedback they were getting. Every adult stopped me in the hall to say how wonderful you both were.
Here is a sampling of emails I already received from the staff about today:
“What an awesome amazing speaker. She was very charismatic.”
“It was powerful on so many levels”
“It was an honor to meet and hear her story and universal messages of kindness and tolerance.”
“A moving moment for adults and students.”
“BEST assembly I’ve ever attended here at JAD!”
“What an experience for our children! Amazing presentation!”
Thank you again. Keep giving those hugs! They do make a difference. ❤ All the best, Tammy”-
Tammy Samarotto, Social Studies Teacher, DePaolo Middle School, Southington, CT
“Thank you so much for coming to Augusta High School yesterday to speak to our kids and teachers. Your story had everyone talking the rest of the day. I am hoping it last in the hearts of our kids for years to come. I am a secretary here at the school and met you at the end of your day. I keep asking the kids what was one thing they got from your story and most talk about how you said you were scared everyday. not knowing what would happen to you or your family. Kids here were too young to even have witness Sept. 11th, so to hear from a survivor from the Holocaust is amazing.
I know you were here 10 years ago, my daughter would have been 10 years old. I am not sure why we didn’t come see you then, but now I wish we would have. I told my now 20 year old daughter last night all about your story and meeting you. She has just recently moved out on her own. She graduated from college last May, has a job at a bank and a photography business that she started when she was a Sophomore in High School. She loves my passion for stories like yours and she can’t wait to read your book too.
I was inspired with your grace, faith and the way you have set out to heal yourself over the years . I could tell your husband was your biggest fan. Enjoy your time with your family and grand-kids when you get to. It was a pleasure again to meet you. Always be blessed.” – Kelly Groom, Augusta High School, Augusta, KS
“Dearest Nathaniel & Marion, we are still in awe over your latest visit to us here in West Genesee. We continue to be insured to be better people…better citizens of this beautiful and precious world. I am counting the days until your visit next year. With love, Beth” – Beth Lozier Principal, Camillus Middle School, Camelus, NY
“Dear Marion, What an absolute pleasure it was to have you come to our school and speak to our students today! I so enjoyed meeting you and Nathaniel, and I hope we can do this again either next year or the year following. Your presentation was so powerful and so positive. The kids had much to say in my class after you left.” – Jennifer Abbott, 8th Grade English Arts, Littleton Middle School, MA
“Thanks for your awesome presentations at Augusta High! Our teachers and students are still talking about how great it was to listen to you!” – Donna Zerr, Principal, Augusta High School, KS
“I just had to email you and tell you once again how amazing your presentation was today. I wanted you to know my son is 13 and has ADHD, so he has trouble focusing and remembering details. He came home today and all he spoke about at the dinner table was your presentation. He repeated everything you spoke about and was so excited to tell my husband and my ten year old daughter. My daughter was so inspired by you that she started to read your book tonight and is already half way through, she has been on your website and Facebook page and asked me if instead of having a birthday party this year, could she have you come and speak to her friends. She also said she can’t wait to go to school tomorrow and tell her teachers all about your book and everything she learned from you. You said sometime today that you wonder sometimes if you should continue what you do. I can only hope that you continue as long as it is possible. The impact you have had on my whole family alone is amazing and that is just from my son and I seeing you speak today just think of the other 800 teachers, PTA and students just from today alone. Your strength, courage and faith are nothing but amazing and your positive and happy nature is just contagious.” – A school parent
“It was lovely seeing you again and watching you teach youngsters about the importance of kindness and respect to each other. Everyone has power and I’m so glad you have used yours for good, so very much good, in this world.” – Maria Elliott, Schuyler-Colfax Middle School, Wayne, NJ
“Hello Marion, I can’t believe it’s been over a year since you came to talk at our school! What an amazing memory. I continue to use your book with my students and we talk about your visit often! Recently the student had 2 different journal responses to write about. One asked who they think is worthy of a Nobel Peace prize, and the other asked who they consider a true hero . In both cases, several students chose you. It brought tears to my eyes! I couldn’t agree more. I just wanted you to know you are still making a difference and your story continues to touch the hearts of my students. God Bless!” – Becki Hoffert, Bradford Schools, IL
“Thank you so much for coming to our school Three Rivers School! You were awesome and a real hero to many people. Thank you for taking your time out of your day to tell your story to us at Three Rivers School. Thank you again!” – Regan Larkin, Three Rivers School, Channahon, IL
“Dear Marion, We all wanted to take a moment to thank you once again for sharing your inspiring story with the Schaumburg High School community. Your heartfelt sincerity and flawless presentation made it a memorable experience for students and staff alike.
As Social Studies teachers, we strive to help our students understand the past and make relevant connections to the present. Your presentation achieved these goals with an authenticity that is often hard to replicate in the classroom. We were all very pleased and grateful to see how engaged our students were during your presentation and afterwards as we discussed it in class. Once again, thank you for providing our students and staff with a rare opportunity to hear from one who has lived history. We wish you and Nathaniel good luck as you continue to share this very important story with others. — The Schaumberg High School Social Studies Department Schaumberg, IL
“Thank you so much for your time, energy and the message of hope, respect and love. Your talk was incredibly impactful and students are still talking about you and your message. You radiate hope and a positive outlook which drew them to you and helped make your words penetrate the teenage defenses. You made a difference and for that we are grateful. I think some of them will remember your story for a very long time, if not forever. Thank you. Thank you.” – Christina Rivera, Principal, Redlands High School, CA
“To: Sharmen Oswald Library Teacher, Gilbert Middle School, SC – I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving our students as well as me a once in a lifetime opportunity today. I told them afterwards, once their math and science knowledge fades away, they will always remember this experience. It was so meaningful to get to meet Mrs. Lazan and I will always remember her message and hold it close. Thank you for all you do Sharman. I immediately called Vicky and told her to get to Pelion Middle, and she also was able to hear Mrs. Lazan and her messages. You deserve so much credit for organizing and making this happen. It has been the highlight of the school year. Sincerely Andrew” —Andrew Connelly, German Teacher, Gilbert, SC
“——–The after effects of your visit (December 2015) are still emerging. I can’t tell you how many people I don’t even know have made glowing comments, and want to know about you, your book, etc. You most certainly are doing God’s work..…you make a real, tangible difference in this world so full of hate and ignorance. Your message is a shining light of hope. I will always count our meeting as a true blessing and one of the best moments in my life. All my love and a healthy, happy, blessed New Year!” – Becki Hoffert, Teacher, Bradford Community School District #1, IL
“Dear Marion and Nathaniel, Thank you for the most interesting and delightful day! You are both so gracious that you put us all at ease – when I think it was us who were supposed to be making you comfortable. You are both inspiring – in your message and in the way you conduct your lives. Such a privilege to spend time with you.
I know the kids felt like they experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event. I know that I will be forever changed by your words and kindness. You both, in your own way, have a gift to change the hearts of those you come in contact with. I do believe it is GOD’s purpose for you. Thank you – thank you, for sharing that gift with all of us.” – Dana Kirkham, Mayor, City of Ammon, ID
“To say her visit (Marion Blumenthal Lazan) to our school was successful is an understatement. Marion and her husband Nathaniel were among the nicest, warmest people I have ever met. Immediately upon meeting them (and being greeted with a hug) I felt like I was being wrapped in a blanket of love. I was amazed, as this came from someone who had experienced such hatred and darkness. Our students and staff were mesmerized by her and you could hear a pin drop. Our district publicity coordinator, who took pictures of the event, said she’s never seen a more captive audience. After Marion’s discussion, she answered numerous questions and then asked to be photographed with our students. She met each one with a hug, a smile, and a genuine interest in them. Two of our students, both accomplished musicians and dancers, performed a special Irish dance and violin solo for her and Nathaniel privately. They were overwhelmed. Never in my career has this happened and it verified why I do what I do. My building principal, Mrs. Beth Lozier, was particularly moved. She couldn’t even talk about Marion’s presentation at our afternoon faculty meeting as she was so touched – it was beyond words. She’s asked me to please book her for next year – and this time she wants every student and faculty member in attendance. Marion’s presentation is as much about character education as it is a look back at historical facts and events. So, please put Camillus Middle School on your list!”– Sharon Bush, LMS, Camillus, NY
“Marion – We are so blessed to have met you. Your story is so tragic, but so impactful. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to other Holocaust survivors speak, and all have left an indelible impression, but you do so with such undeniable grace that it’s impossible not to keep your message in our hearts and minds. Your message will endure foe all of us at Michigan Center Jr/St High School, MI – with all of my love and respect.
– Brady Cook, Principal.
“I had one of the most memorable and precious moments of my life today. I had the honor and privilege of introducing Marion Blumenthal Lazan. She is amazing; an 80 year old Holocaust survivor. First thing she said to me, “Boy you look like you need a hug.” She was correct. I am also proud of our CCHS, MS, and ES and Murray students who were in attendance. We had roughly 900 people in attendance. I will never forget her.” –
Shane Stephens, Principal, Clarke Community High School, Osceola, IA
“——– It was extremely touching to see how the students surrounded you after your presentation…they just had to reach out and touch you! ————–As in many high schools in this country, many of our students deal with horrendous situations in their home lives, and many feel bitter and beaten. It was mostly those students who commented afterward about how your message gave them hope for their own futures. Thank you again for coming and spreading your message. We all are so grateful – With love and gratitude, Darlene Stott” – English Teacher, RCS Senior High School , Ravena, NY
“Hello Mrs. Lazan, I wanted to send you a message and just say thank you for writing your book Four Perfect Pebbles. I got to read it for first time when I was in 7th grade back in 2005. I’m now 23 years old and I will forever hold that as one of my favorite books. I actually got the pleasure to meet you in 2006 when you came to Fairforest Middle School in Spartanburg, SC. That will also go down as one of my favorite moments in my life. Therefore, again, I thank you for all that you’ve done.” -Kayla de Mattos, SC
“Dear Marion, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for traveling so far to share your incredible story with our students. I can say that this experience has been the best thing I have ever done in education. Your story and the inspiration you bring are truly incredible.” – Kate Cardenas, 7th Grade Language Arts and Speech, Michigan Center Junior High School, MI
“Dear Marion, Tell Nathaniel he is a fantastic photographer. The pictures are outstanding. I feel so honored to have met you and have heard your epic story of survival. Such attitude and faith you had, not to mention strength given by the almighty, at such a young age. You are so youthful and beautiful now, no one would know you had suffered such indignities and horrible treatment and pain. Your soft voice and precious way of telling your story has no trace of bitterness or revenge. I doubt I could have survived and I am sure I would not be as gracious as you. I am so grateful that Helen invited me to spend some time with you and Nathaniel after the lecture. It was such a pleasure to get to sit next to you and talk with you. I feel honored to meet with people who are role models to me. People like yourself and the others have integrity and strength that inspires people to do the right thing and to fight bigotry and hatred when we see it. I am glad that you target young people. They look to the wrong people in sports and Hollywood for examples and role models, they need people like you and Philip Bialowitz, and Fred Mayer . People in their youth who endured unthinkable things and came out of it with a zeal to make the world a better place. I was so impressed with your message and it has inspired me to go over top of some physical problems I have and teach the Holocaust every opportunity I can. Helen Lodge is a great woman. She is so very ill, and often very weak and in pain , but she gets the job done and does it to perfection. She also is a role model for me. I am not young, but we are never too old to learn things from others. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, for what you are doing. I will never forget your trip to Charleston West Virginia.” – Love and hugs, Carma Peter
“Marion, I am a chemistry teacher at McDowell high school and I had the privilege of hearing you speak both this past Sunday and on Wednesday to the students. We met personally very briefly in the room out side the main office Wednesday afternoon. I just wanted to reiterate the impact that you had on both myself personally and also the vast numbers of students in our school. You have been talked about constantly since you spoke. Students during class, in the hallways, and in the lunchroom have been talking about you experiences, your spirit, and most importantly your message of kindness and respect. It breathed a breath of fresh air in to our building and into my heart. Furthermore, I am also the Youth Director at a Presbyterian church in the next town over. Sunday I was honored to bring a young man that I mentor in the church to your talk. He was deeply moved. Your message of kindness, respect, and tolerance was precisely the message I try to convey to my youth group and also, I believe, the central message of both of our faiths. I was absolutely honored to meet you. Words are inadequate to describe my gratitude for you coming and sharing a very painful story so that others may live their lives better. I promise you I will share your story with my son, Luke (age 2) and my daughter, Lillian (age 4 months) when they are older. God Bless you”
– Jake Tobolewski, Chemistry Teacher, McDowell High School, Erie, PA
“Thank you for the riveting presentation at the library. It is my fervent prayer that you resolve to imprint the young with your story so successfully that they will never allow such atrocities to happen again. You have touched the very soul of Perkin by your presence and those of us who have heard you have been greatly enriched.”
–Joan Wood, Public Services Coordinator, Pekin Public Library, IL
“Dear Marion, Thank you so much for coming to the Air Force Academy. It was my great pleasure and honor to meet both you and Nathaniel. Your talk to the Cadets received outstanding reviews and passionately moved the hearts of many. Thank you so much for your kindness & investment in the lives of future officers. Love & friendship, Lou”
– Lou Theriault, Secretary to General Dana Born, Dean, AFA, Colorado Springs, CO
“To Marion – with gratitude and affection. Thank you for a wonderful presentation at the University of Sussex and the crucially important work you are doing!”
– Christian Wiese, Director of the Centre for German Jewish Studies and History Professor, Sussex University, Brighton, UK
“I wanted to say thank you from Anna Jonesboro High School for the pictures and CD that you sent. They are wonderful and our students will be very glad to have them. Your visit was a treasure to all that were blessed to attend. Thank you for everything you have done for our school. I hope you have a wonderful new year!” – Courtney Garner, Anna-Jonesboro High School Science Department Co-Chairman, IL
“Marion, your words will live in the hearts of those incarcerated women forever!!!! I am so grateful to have met you. The women were still in awe of you by their night time meeting. THEY WILL WRITE TO YOU AND I WILL EMAIL THE LETTERS. THANK YOU!”
– Liz Stokes, Suffolk County Correctional Facility, Riverhead, NY
“Thank you so much for coming to our school and talking to our students and staff. I consider myself truly fortunate to have met you. Marion, your presentation was so moving! Not just to me, but to everyone that was in attendance. I am amazed and so pleased with the positive buzz your visit instigated. Your missions to bear witness, and your message of hope and optimism, resounded. It is evident in conversations, and I believe it was evident in kinder interpersonal actions within our school. It is evident in these children’s’ letters to you.
God has touched you, and made you shine. Thank you for spreading that light to our school community.” – Mary Gotham, West Genesee High School, Camillus, NY
“We are still glowing from the wonderful week we shared with you. You two have a fan club back here…we hear a continual stream of praise for the both of you. You two are a great team, and it is easy to see how many lives you have touched in your few short days in Kingsburg. Denise and I figured out that you spoke to over 5,000 kids and adults, and your story reached about 100,000 through TV and newspaper coverage. That is pretty amazing! Not only was your story heard, it was embraced by the listeners. One teacher said, “We expected an old lady, and we got an energetic, positive, and dynamic speaker. The kids were glued to every word. WOW!”
– Janet Kelly, Kings River School, Kingsburg, CA
“I just wanted to send another HUGE THANKS from myself and my students for your visit! Never have I taught a unit that interested them SO much, and your visit just made it all the more interesting and relevant for them. They are still talking about you and your story, although we have moved on from the novel and the Holocaust unit. We are now on research, and MANY of them asked if they could do their reports on you and other figures of the time period. I hope you enjoyed your stay in our small town, and I pray that your home survived Hurricane Sandy unharmed. Many of the students have asked that question, as they are truly concerned about your safety. Thanks for a life-changing presentation!”
– Jodey Bruno, 8th grade ELA, St. Amant Middle School, LA
“Your courage is astounding, your preservation unlimited, and your heart is overflowing. We recognize the difficulty it takes to continue to tell your story, and we thank you.” – Brandy Wamsley, 8th Grade Teacher, Springfield Christian School, IL
“—— Several years ago, you really had an impact upon the students who were fortunate enough to meet you and hear your story here in Indiana. At our middle school, my thematic unit has always revolved around “Tolerance,” which is enriched even more with our school’s policy of “Character Counts.” As a part of our studies, I have always felt that it was very important for students to know about WWII and the atrocities that occurred so that history doesn’t repeat itself, and I have always tried to present the message that even the seemingly smallest wrong against a person is not acceptable. (Unfortunately, we frequently have to struggle with some little issues spinning into “bullying.”) I would like to think that I, too, have made a positive difference in the many lives I have touched through teaching.
With all of that said, I just wanted to email you to let you know that your life is a gift from God that has touched so many lives, including mine. Furthermore, since I will be retiring from teaching at the end of this year (after thirty-five years of teaching), I just wanted to take the opportunity to send one final email to you to thank you for enriching my life and the lives of my students.”
– Deborah Kilander, East Jay Middle School, Portland, IN
“It was an honor to have Marion come and speak to our students. Personally, I cannot tell you how fortunate I feel to have had the opportunity to hear her. She is a treasure.” – David Hoffman, Technology Director, Charleston Catholic High School, WV
“Hello, Marion, It was so wonderful to meet you and hear you speak this week. You truly touched my heart and your story of triumph is unforgettable. I can’t wait to meet again, next year!” – Michelle Murphy, PTA Cultural Arts, Stimson Middle School, Huntington Station, NY
“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Lazan, I wanted you guys to know that your visit to our school was wonderful. The best part of your visit was the change I saw in the students. We needed to hear your story of hope and to learn about being respectful to one another. I have seen the students’ heart change to a more caring and loving attitude. Thank you so much for your honesty and for telling your story to us. You both are such blessings. We have received the CD with all of the wonderful pictures. I am sharing them on the school news program next week to remember the day of your visit and how important it is to have hope and to really care about how we treat others.”
– Dana Mims, LMS, Bumpus Middle School, Hoover, AL
“Dear Marion, I cannot thank you enough for the time you spent with our students and staff. Your presentation was, in my opinion, as good or better than any message our students have ever received as a whole student body. You captivated all 800+ of us in our gym. Your message ties in so closely with what I try to pass on to everyone in our building every day. The importance of treating everyone with the utmost respect and kindness.”
– Tim Miller, Principal, Stilwell Junior High School, West Des Moines, IA
” I am a Holocaust teacher at St. Albans High School in WV – I was the one who suggested to Helen Lodge that we try to get you to come to speak at our Holocaust Remembered Witness and Legacy recently in Charleston. I was able to hear you on Tuesday, and then brought my class on the following day. Your story was amazing, but more importantly, you message. My students are still talking about their experience and hopefully will start practicing your message.” – Much love and many prayers!! Jack Lyon/SAHS
“Marion Lazan gave a powerful presentation, the students were completely attentive, she delivered her message with tremendous poise and strength. She not only spoke about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, but she delivered the message that we should all be kind and tolerant. Truly, I was thrilled to be there. Marion and her husband, Nathaniel, are organized, wonderful to work with, and they provide educations material for the students prior to the presentation.” – Andrea Burger, PTA Arts in Motion Co-Chair, Wilson Elementary School, Rockville Centre, NY
“One woman, one microphone, and a voice was all that was needed to keep more than 900 students in awe.” – Heather Nuneviller, Principal, Manheim Township Middle School, Lancaster, PA
“You met me in Charleston, West Virginia, when you were giving such a moving and forever memorable account of your life and struggle to survive during and after the 2nd World War.My life will never be the same after I met you. Eventhough I knew friends of my parents, who managed to escape in time to either Switzerland or the USA, later on in life I learned that my parents were hiding some of my mother’s friends family in our basement. Even though my father refused to join the Nazi party, lost his job because of it, was on Hitler’s black list- I still feel a black mark on me. Your message to all of us should be allover the world – the essence is tolerance and what my mother instilled in me and my brothers, to believe in the basic goodness of men.” – Fondly, Marlie C., Charleston, WV
Marion, you are truly a gift, and I am so thankful to you and Nathaniel for sharing of yourselves with our community. Your spirit and energy is inspiring. I am honored to have met you and Rolling Hills Middle School/El Dorado Hills will live by your message. Safe travels to you! – Debbie Piccoloi Bowen, Principal, Rolling Hills Middle School, Eldorado, CA
“I consider your assembly program at Ohio County High School to be the BEST in the history of the school, and enjoy keeping up with you through your newsletters.”
– Judy Bevil, Coordinator, Ohio County High School Youth Center, Hartford, KY
“Hi Marion! You may recall last May when we spoke on the phone after your presentation at Ray Middle School in Baldwinsville, NY. I am one of the 6th grade teachers at Ray and my class had gifted you with some poems they had written about you and your story. I wanted to contact you and let you know that we submitted those poems to the American Library of Poetry and four students were picked to be in the finals. One of those poems was selected as a prize winner. Zachary Roseberry’s poem won him an ipod touch (he got to choose between that and a laptop!) and it will be published by the American Library of Poetry. Since you were the inspiration, I wanted to let you know and say “Thank you!” Zachary is so proud of his accomplishment and it is my understanding that there is going to be a write-up in the December issue of the District newsletter, The Beacon, and if they have room, they are going to include a copy of the poem. What a great moment for a kid. Thank you for sharing your powerful story and reaching so many of our students. It is truly a gift. –Darcy Moody, – 6th Grade Teacher, Ray Middle School, Baldwinsville, NY
“I found Marion just as captivating as Elie Wiesel, and felt as if I were in the presence of Ann Frank.” – Marty Evans, Senior Financial Advisor, Ameriprise
“Marion, Your spirit and story have impacted my life forever. I promise to teach my children, and my grandchildren…about you, about God and His love for His children, and about HOPE…Faith and Love…Your visit blessed me tremendously.” – Minda Lee Johnson, Learning Services Director, National Sports Academy, Lake Placid, NY
“Marion, I wanted to thank you again for coming to speak to our students on October 20. It was evident by the number of hugs and photographs that they wanted with you, that your message of hope and determination left a strong impression on our students. It was a pleasure to meet you and your husband. Each of you have such a strong appreciation for life, you are truly a joy to be around.” – Tom DiAcetis, Principal, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central High School, Ravena, NY
“Marion, your presentation today at the Saranac Lake Middle School was beautiful. It was rich in history, life lessons, humor, sadness, hope, love, and faith. I was moved throughout the entire assembly and I thank you sharing your story. Wow! – Karen Miemis, Teacher, Saranac Lake Middle School, NY
“It was a day I will never forget. —– please tell Marion what an enormous impact she had on our students. Behaviors dramatically improved following her visit.” – Candy Cohen, Assistant Director, Lifeworks Alternative School, Doylestown, PA
“Marion – Once again, you did it. You touched the lives of countless individuals with your story of triumph, hope, and resilience. You inspired others to never give up –even when faced with unimaginable loss and despair. And you did it with grace, with a smile, and with LOVE. You are truly one of the most incredible women I have ever met. Thank You for coming to our district to touch more hearts, and change them forever. I sincerely hope you will come to us again – yours is a story too important not to share again and again. Continued blessings, good health and happiness, my dear friend. Until we meet again, Sharon” – Sharon Bush, LMS, Camillus Middle School, NY
“Marion Blumenthal Lazan was the most powerful speaker I have ever seen in 30 years of school assemblies, as a student, teacher and principal. …… Can’t remember another time students gave a speaker a standing ovation.” – Bruce VanWeelden, Principal, Saranac Lake High School, NY (from News article in Adirondack Daily Enterprise
“Bless you for having the courage to not only live, but to live with grace and dignity, hope, and humor. I can’t thank you enough for showing my students that to be hurt is something you can recover from – that love, family, grace and fortitude are in their control.” – Susan Joseph, Teacher, Crestwood Middle School, Chesapeake, VA
“It was my distinct pleasure to introduce you before an audience of 1500 students at the Osceola County School for the Arts in Kissimmee, Florida last month. As I mentioned in my introduction, your story is one that must be told and retold generation to generation. I recounted your story to my family that very night at the dinner table, so they could be inspired by your life to show love, respect, and tolerance for differences in others.
I want to thank you for your gift of a signed Four Perfect Pebbles book, and of the kind words you wrote in it. My teenage daughter, the day I brought the book home, began reading it and stayed up very late until she had finished it. You can see your message was passed on to her. My entire family will help tell your story. My middle daughter, I have three, wants to be a teacher when she grows up. It is exciting to know that she will continue to share your story, not only to her generation, but to the next.
May God continue to bless you.” – Dr. Wade A. Davis, Osceola School District, Kissimmee, FL
“It is difficult to express the gratitude that we feel for the time you were able to spend with us at Weedsport today, May 22, 2008. Marion, your account of your experiences is vivid, yet sensitive to your audience. The message that you deliver over and over, one of tolerance and caring, is so important for our young people. You are able to tie together your experiences and your message in a way that is powerful and leaves your listeners with hope. The comments and feedback throughout the day have been outstanding. Please know that you made a difference at Weedsport today!” – Carrie Widrick, Middle School Principal & Helen White, High School Principal, Weedsport, NY
“——– As I watched the faces of the audience, I could see many of our less fortunate students hanging on to every word. I know they were thinking about the problems they face, and the possibilities presented before them. You gave them hope that day. Hope they will carry with them during the tough times we all face.” – Rina Beach, Curriculum Director, Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence, NY
“Wow—I can’t believe that you have left!! I must say that the two days you were with us was so wonderful—not only for me, but for all of Galesburg!! I am still getting messages and comments from everyone who heard you speak Tuesday or Wednesday. Each message is a thank you and what a wonderful, inspirational message you delivered!! Yesterday, I spent my class time talking with my 8th grade students about your visit. I wanted to hear their impressions and thoughts about the entire project and your visit. The comments and awe after listening to you on Wednesday (and many on Tuesday evening) were overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. To put a face to the research / projects they spent so much time on was the “icing on the cake” for them. When I asked them what message did they hear, it was wonderful: be respectful, remember the importance of an education, don’t judge people because they are different, keep in touch with your parents, stay positive and enjoy life!! We also talked about their role now in passing on the information they have heard; its importance to all! Your visit with us was a huge success, and one that I along with everyone at Churchill, Lombard, all of Galesburg will remember forever!! Thank you so much for being with us!”– Glinda Walker, 8th Grade English Teacher, Churchill Jr. High School, Galesburg, IL
“Thank you again for sharing your hearts and hope for a better tomorrow. Our kids will never be the same.” – Eric Bruder, Principal/Athletic Director, Okaw Valley High School, Bethany, IL
“I was among the crowd at Baldwinsville High School ……………… God Bless you Marion, spread your story, the young people today need to hear it. Many of them are too tied up in their music, shopping, activities and television (probably much like I was at their age). Luckily my wife and I raised three wonderful daughters who are smart, articulate and independent. As the wise man once said, ‘Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it.’ “- Bob Dupre, Community Resident, Baldwinsville, NY
“Your message of tolerance and humanity is one that my students took to heart as they reflected on your presentation throughout the day. In addition, I was touched by your spirit and your devotion to promoting peace in the world through tolerance, despite the adversity you faced as a child. Your messages were strong and valuable. The importance of hope, kindness, tolerance and respect are ideas that they will not soon forget. ——May your presentations continue to produce more “good” young women and men.”
– Debbie Habshoosh, Woodmere Middle School, Woodmere, NY
“Words can’t express how happy we are because of your visit to USI. You are the standard of a great speaker! You captured the audience with your story, and people are still talking about how amazing you are!”
– Kathy Jones, Program Advisor for Student Activities, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN
“Marion Lazan gave a powerful presentation, the students were completely attentive, she delivered her message with tremendous poise and strength. She not only spoke about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, but she delivered the message that we should all be kind and tolerant. Truly, I was thrilled to be there. Marion and her husband, Nathaniel, are organized, wonderful to work with, and they provide educations material for the students prior to the presentation.” – Andrea Burger, PTA Arts in Motion Co-Chair, Wilson Elementary School, Rockville Centre, NY
“Your presentation today was more than we could have hoped for. Your highly emotional, hope filled story was told in such a warm and sensitive manner and touched all of us to the core. We are blessed to have heard your words
in person and will remember them for a life time.”
– Roseann Sunser, Principal, Holy Cross School, Dewitt, New York
“I was flipping channels last night and saw you on television. It brought back the wonderful memory of your visit to Utah and all the schools the Rhees family are involved with. During the program, I remembered the commitment I made to myself during your visit to Utah to be a more positive cheerful person, to be more of an influence for good among the children I work with, to love my wife and children more completely every minute of every day, and to thank God for the wonderful blessings He shares with us in whatever form He deems to be in our best interest. Thanks for your wonderful influence on children and adults everywhere.”- David J. Rhees, Principal, Plain City Elementary School, UT
“…having Marion come to southernmost Illinois was probably the best thing the council had ever done….Marion Blumenthal Lazan is committed to telling her story to as many people as she can. Her touching talk is from the heart and captures the audience. In a perfectly quiet, large auditorium I did not see one individual leaving during the speech or visit with a neighbor. She received two standing ovations that night and signed books for nearly two hours. With each autograph, she spoke encouraging words, and often followed her signings with hugs.” – Beth Arthur, President, Illinois Reading Council, IL
“My family and I saw you speak last night at Hoyt Sherman Place, and we were all so incredibly moved by your story. Afterward my son, Evan, and I came up to talk to you. He was the little boy with long, red hair. You thanked him for bringing mom that night. I just wanted to let you know about Evan’s reaction to your speech. He had all sorts of things he planned to tell you, but when he met you face to face, he was too shy! First of all, I thought you’d get a kick out of this, after hearing you talk about peace, acceptance, tolerance, and embracing our differences, he said, “Mom! She is so cool!” I think it’s saying a lot when 11-year-old boys think you are cool. He loved hearing your story. He was quite shocked by it, knowing you were his age and younger when you experienced this horrendous treatment. He wanted to buy your book and he wanted badly to get your signature in it! The first thing he said after rising this morning is, “Oh good! I can’t wait to start reading Four Perfect Pebbles today!” He was also pretty awed by the idea that his generation will be the last to hear these stories first-hand. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for having such a meaningful impact on my son and my family. You are a beautiful person. Your spirit amazes and humbles me.” – Kathy Burrows-Noring, Compliance Officer Bankers Trust Company, Des Moines, IA
“Someone once said ‘God danced the day you were born.’ Truly, in your case, He did. You are a natural teacher and healer in our cruel yet delicate world. … hope you’ll smile and know that you touched so many people with your gracious manner and hopeful enthusiasm.”
– Nancy Shew, Teacher, Genoa Middle School, Westerville, OH
“Your visit to our school has had a positive impact on our students. I have a collection of books in my classroom about the Holocaust, and they have been flying off of my shelf. Just yesterday, a student stopped me in the hallway and said, “You know, that Four Perfect Perfect Pebbles book is really good!” It makes me so happy to see the kids reading!”
– Katrina Tammen, Paxton-Buckley-Loda Junior High School, Paxton, IL
“I will never forget seeing, watching, and hearing you in our school library today. It will become one of the rare moments that one cherishes and keeps close in their heart. It will take a long time to fully absorb all that you said if anyone can ever really absorb all that you lived through. You touched my heart with your gentleness, dignity, grace and wisdom. Every person who has ever been with you has been enriched. The children were so totally engaged in listening to you and you have a remarkable style in relating to them.
Marion, you are a blessing for all whose path you cross. You deserve the best that life can offer and I hope you continue to enjoy and reap rewards from the service you are doing for the good of humanity.”
– Rita, Parent, Robert Seaman Elementary School, Jericho, NY
“In my 22 years of teaching I can assure you that no visit by anyone has ever had more of an impact with my class than yours. I will continue to spread your message to my classes as long as I teach. —-God speed in your visits across this great country.” – Mark Bedenbaugh, Social Studies Chairman, Pelion High School, Pelion, SC
“I cannot express enough how grateful I am to you for sharing your story with my 10th graders here in Owensboro High School; they were so moved by your sacrifice, and I’m sure they will never forget your pain and suffering. Your visit to Owensboro High School has inspired us all to be respectful and compassionate human beings.” – Stacey Payne, English Teacher, Owensboro High School, KY
“I don’t think I can express our pleasure in having you visit our small Montana communities. Youth Enhancement Services has bee a topic of conversation because of your wonderful message. We have been working with the schools on teaching virtues to their students since the beginning of the year. In 3 days, your presence validated what we not only tell the schools and their students, but community members also. For that, we thank you! ….. God certainly blessed all of us that got to spend time with you.”
– Leslie Kesler, Coordinator, Youth Enhancement Services, Choteau, MT
“I just want to tell you how much your presentation yesterday meant to me and my students! It was such a pleasure to meet you and hear your remarkable story! I was so touched by your spirit and love for humanity, in spite of the atrocities you suffered. God has surely blessed all those who come in contact with you! I especially appreciate the message you left with the students of tolerance and love for each other. It would be a wonderful world if we could all live by those principles!
Thanks again, and may God richly bless you!”
– Janet Lipton, Sixth Grade Teacher, Happy Hollow School, West Lafayette, IN
“It was an honor to meet you, you are an incredible woman. You are much more than a Holocaust Survivor with a fascinating story; you are a GREAT motivational speaker as well. People like you make this world a better place and no one that hears you speak will ever forget you.” – Phyllis Farrow, Jewish Federation of Fresno, CA
“— you must know that very few people in our lives have affected us for good as you. We have had the privilege of being in the same room or shaking the hand of our spiritual leaders; we experience the same sense and degree of goodness and extraordinary spirituality with you as we do with them. As one spends time with you, one feels the depth and strength of your character — we believe that you are angels sent from God. We wish you well in your quest to achieve peace in our world — if the world were simply to have conversation with you each morning as it awakes, it truly would be a perfect place. Thank you for touching our lives. May God bless and keep you!” – Stu Howell, School Administrator, Ogden, UT
“Hello Marion and Nathaniel, Thank you so much for coming to Enid and Northern Oklahoma College yesterday. Both of you are fireballs of energy with an important message to share, one of kindness, tolerance, and respect for others. You are wonderfully gracious individuals who left an indelible impression on all in attendance at last night’s performance. With much gratitude.” Dr.DeLisa Ging, Northern Oklahoma College, Enid, OK
“The students and teachers here at the 7th Grade Center have been talking about you and your story since you left. You have certainly touched our lives in a special way. You have also touched hearts, including my own. I am sure you affect people like this all the time, but personally it takes a truly genuine person with a phenomenal personality and strong values to earn my respect. You have done so and rank at the very top, sharing that “honor” with Pope John Paul. I will never forget you and God willing, I pray we meet again.”
– Sue Spence, Royersford 7th Grade Center, Royersford, PA
“It was a “great experience to bring the Catholic and Jewish school students together for this unique opportunity. To hear this Jewish person tell us her terrible experience in such a loving way, you truly feel that she is God’s spokesperson. She’s a true prophet.”
– Miss Marianne Cote, Principal, St. Joseph School, New London, CT
“Yesterday our middle school hosted Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a Holocaust survivor and co-author of Four Perfect Pebbles. Not only does she tell her family’s story, but stresses the themes of tolerance, hope and perseverance. With sensitivity and patience, she captivates students. Her presentation echoed the way we would like students to treat each other. She would also be a great speaker on Human Rights! I recommend her without reservation.”
– Betty Wolfe, LMS, Avon Middle School, Avon, CT
“As a middle school teacher of Catholic Theology, I was awestruck by your beautiful testimony of faith. I have read different accounts of the Holocaust, but hearing it first-person from a survivor was quite touching. Thank you for sharing your story, even though it is a difficult one to tell. You are truly living out your calling by God to share His message of love and tolerance in our world. May He bless you with many more years of blessing others with your story!”
– Judy Ruesewald, Theology Teacher, Bishop T. K. Gorman Catholic School, Tyler, TX
“First and foremost, I would like to thank you and Nathanial for your visit. Often times when I have had a speaker or organized a presentation, it is not certain as to whether or not the lives of our staff and students have been impacted in any truly meaningful way. This was not the case with your visit. During that very day it was clearly evident that your presence was having a strong effect on so many people. Your books are continuing to sell, your story is being told and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Students, teachers and administrators have been so touched by your presence and are commenting on how privileged they feel to have met you.” – Diane Miller, Library Media Specialist, Lindenhurst High School, Lindenhurst, NY
“You have a powerful message that both students and adults need to her. Thank you for emphasizing the importance of treating people with respect, having compassion, and not blindly following someone else. These are characteristics that the school district is also stressing with students.”
– Dr. Michael Jacobsen, Superintendent, Weber School District, Ogden, UT
“I just wanted to take a few minutes and let you know that you are truly making a difference in the lives of our children, and you remain in our thoughts and prayers.” – Leronda Savage, Teacher, Lafayette Middle School, Oxford, MS
“Last week our district had the pleasure of hosting Marion Blumenthal Lazan, author of Four Perfect Pebbles and a holocaust survivor. Her presentation was riveting as she spoke for an hour without props or any A-V assistance. She was generous with her time and very professional. The experience was so gripping for our students that our Social Studies dept. is considering adding this book to its curriculum. Her book is about 120 pages long and is therefore, accessible to all levels of readers. Her message is one of accepting others and embracing our differences with respect for all. I heartily recommend her to any school anxious to share this message.” – Gayl Smith, LMC Director, Waubonsie Valley High School, Aurora, IL
“I just wanted to take the time to say THANK YOU so much for sharing your story with us today. I teach seventh grade English at Pizitz and my students have all been talking about your story today. They have
all read your book, but hearing you in person, really got their attention on the subject matter. We are reading Nory Ryan’s Song, a novel about the Irish potato famine and the injustices the Irish faced
against British rule. It is so neat to see them make connections to your story and Nory’s. Words can not express my gratitude for you and the message you speak about. God Bless.” – Ashley Hicks, Pizitz Middle School, Vestavia Hills, AL
“I cannot express enough how grateful I am to you for sharing your story with my 10th graders here at Owensboro High School. They were so moved by your sacrifice, and I’m sure will never forget your pain and suffering. Your visit to Owensboro High School has inspired us all to be respectful and compassionate human beings.” – Stacey Payne, English Teacher, Owensboro High School, Owensboro, KY
“What an honor it was to get to know you both today. I am in awe of who you are and what you are doing for the millions of lives you are touching. Please keep in touch and let me know if I can do anything to further your cause. I spoke with all of my students today after your assembly and honestly, they were all captivated. Some students even wrote about the day – I’d like to share a quick paragraph from a student who is a very reluctant reader/writer/student. (He wrote this at Homework Detention in my class today!) ‘I think that Marion Blumenthal Lazan did a great job speaking today. She gave an overview of her life in a matter of an hour. No wonder she has a book. I usually don’t listen to the town meetings or when we have a guest speaker like that. But I listened very attentively today because I wanted to listen to her talk.’ And another student wrote, ‘From this book I have learned not only facts but lessons to help me in life, and I will put those into practice in everything I do from now on.’ What in impact you have made. Thank you! ” – Jan Brennan, Teacher, Avon Middle School, Avon, CT
“On May 2, 2001, Marion Blumenthal Lazan, author of Four Perfect Pebbles, visited our school. This was the last novel the Read and Rap girls read this year and definitely the highlight of our year together. Mrs. Lazan eloquently shared her childhood story of growing up during World War II, her subsequent time spent in a concentration camp and her liberation in the U.S. Her message of determination, perseverance, faith and hope was brilliantly delivered. This is an author that every school district should sponsor.”
– Julie Larson, Library Media Specialist, Maquoketa Middle School, Maquoketa, IA
“Dear Marion and Nathaniel,
We feel so honored and truly blessed to have had both of you with us once again. I can’t tell you about all the positive comments from students and faculty! So many teachers said your presentation was the best assembly we have ever had!! I can’t thank you enough for inspiring our students in so many ways! We have already started to make connections between Four Perfect Pebbles and other books!” – Deb Thibault, English Teacher, Irving A. Robbins Middle School, Farmington, CT
“You kept nearly 700 high school students riveted to your voice and your story for an hour – not an easy thing to do. I know it was not only the content of your story but also the warmth and power of your personality that held us all.”
– Susan Frazin, LMC Director, Freshman Building, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, IL
“They (the 6th graders) were so enthralled with your presentation that they couldn’t believe a little more than an hour had gone by. You certainly captivated the audience. Your message was clear to all who were listening and certainly one they need to hear over and over again.” – Pat Visconti, Harrisville Central School, Harrisville, NY
“Our school recently got an award of CT middle school of the year! As part of the evaluation process, select students were interviewed and asked their favorite part of the school. One of the answers was: The assembly when the Holocaust speaker came. That’s you! That’s proof that you do indeed make an impact. We’re looking forward to your visit next year.”
– Betty Wolf, Media Specialist, Avon Middle School, CT
“There are so many important lessons you teach the students: hope, tolerance, thinking for oneself, and being good and kind. Your story also demonstrates the value of hard work and perseverance.”
– Mikey Marini, Glendale Elementary School, Vero Beach, FL
“——- I was present for your June presentation at Eastport-South Manor. Needless to say, I thought you were a phenomenal speaker.” – Vincent A. Caravana, Coordinator of English, Lindenhurst Public Schools, NY
“Mrs. Lazan, thank you so much for your wonderful, moving speech given at Lomond View Elementary in Pleasant View. I teach 5th graders at Plain City Elementary and had the privilege of attending with my students. We all were mesmerized by your message. Thank you for being such a strong example of so many virtues; kindness, tolerance, and inner strength being just a few. I’m sure all of the children and adults present took with them some lasting impressions to ponder. Most sincerely”
– Kathy Stobaugh, Plain City Elementary School, Plain City, Utah
“The positive feedback I’ve already received from students and faculty is unprecedented in my long experience with school speakers. But my favorite part was getting to meet you. There are times when you know you’ve been blessed to spend time with certain people, and yesterday was one of those times for me.” – Sandy Reed, Andover High School Librarian, Andover, KS
“I have read your book twice, and loved it very much, but to hear your voice, and see you before me!….I am so pleased that my Student/Parent Organization has approved my request to have you, as living history, come and relate in person, your story to our students.” – Laura Merck, Fifth Grade Teacher. Vernon Twp. Schools, NJ
“Marion Lazan, author of Four Perfect Pebbles, certainly made an impact! Each of her four presentations was completely filled and larger rooms were quickly sought as word spread of her powerful message regarding her experiences as a Holocaust survivor. In addition to being a lovely lady, Marion is a living reminder of the power of a positive attitude, the courage of a survivor, and of the necessity of utilizing well each day of life.” – The Illinois Reading Council COMMUNICATOR
“We were all most impressed by your story and your message of tolerance, perseverance and courage in the face of adversity. As I sat on the stage and watched our students during your talk, and later listened to their questions, I realized what a profound effect you were having on them. In all the assemblies I’ve attended throughout these past twenty-four years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group so quiet and intent on the speaker. Many of them had not read your story, Four Perfect Pebbles, but have been moved by your visit to purchase the book or read our library copies. Other students have been inspired to learn more about the Holocaust and will take your story with them throughout the rest of their lives. May God keep you in his hands.”
– Chris Turner, Librarian/Media Specialist, Oak Mountain Middle School, Birmingham, AL
“Four Perfect Pebbles was an outstanding pedagogical aid in framing the sequence of events of World War 11. It is written in an age appropriate style that students from fourth to eighth grades can relate to.”
– Donna Folino, Holy Rosary School, Staten Island, NY
“…your visit was the most valuable event of the year and maybe of some of the lives of our children…” – Rebecca Dan, Adams Consolidated School, Monroe, IN
“We’ve never had a better presentation in all the years I worked at Emerson, now Gwendolyn Brooks!” – Lynne Beauprez, District Mentor, Oak Park District 97, Oak Park, IL
“…to say that I found it (Four Perfect Pebbles) very moving and inspirational would be an understatement. The story confirmed what I felt when I had the pleasure of meeting you; that yours is a spirit of the most precious kind, a true survivor with an amazing message that you have so unselfishly chosen to share with the world.” – Anthony Lipschitz, Vice-President, AdvanceWare Soulutions, Inc
“I can only speak of Ms. Lazan in superlatives. This kind and peaceful lady captured the hearts and minds of the entire school; she remains the talk of the school because of the effectiveness of her presentation, her sincerity and her passion for the truth; all the while her attitude was optimistic and non-judgmental.” – Rev. Msgr. Kieran McHugh, Pope John 23rd Regional High School, Sparta, NJ
“The entire school community of Resurrection has been touched forever by your words and by the challenges you presented to us that day.”
– Harold Nielsen, Principal, Resurrection Grammar School, Rye, NY
“Your presentation was inspiring and captivated the children… We can only hope that this generation of children will take to heart your message and will build a better and more tolerant world.”
– Robert T. Bond, Headmaster Lower School, Saint Edward’s School, Vero Beach, Fl
“As I stood in the rear of the auditorium observing how intent so many young men were on your words, stories and journey, I recognized that in some meaningful way you may well have turned the compass of their thought process…. While perhaps you think of yourself as a lecturer first, I can assure you that you are equally a teacher.”
W. Brewster Ely IV, Headmaster, Town School for Boys, San Francisco, CA
“My students were able to see that strength can be an internal thing, not just one that is seen on the outside. This especially affected the girls. You sent them the message that they can endure whatever life throws at them. That to believe in yourself, your own personal strength and to stay focused on your goal, that anything can be achieved.” – Christina Hoop, 8th Grade teacher, Virden Middle School, Virden, IL
“I know the girls will not forget your message to them a they grow up and learn more about world history, current events and human relations. They will remember your story, and the warm, loving person that you are…. Your exhortation to never stop trying, and the importance of attitude are messages with universal significance, and our children need to hear them over and over again.” – Becky Mather, Quality Learning Consultant, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, Bettendorf, IA
“Thank you very much for your wonderful presentation to the 7th and 8th graders at Stuart Hall. You were an inspiration to them and you are an inspiration to the world.” – Nat Wilburn, Dean, Stuart Hall School for Boys, San Francisco, CA
“Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Your experience and message of hope has touched all of us! We are honored to have had you at St. Cecelia.” – Sister Marilyn Miller, Principal, Saint Cecilia School, San Francisco, CA
“I wanted to thank you (Arcola Middle School) for arranging the speaker yesterday. My daughter Julia came home and told me all about it. She was spellbound by the stories. What a wonderful opportunity for the students to hear first hand the horrors and triumphs of that time. With all the unfortunate things that have gone on in their environment recently it puts it all into perspective. Thank you to you and the English department for making this assembly possible. It truly had an impact on my daughter.
– Barbara H. – A parent, Eagleville, PA
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank you not only for sharing your story, but also for stressing the importance of compassion, tolerance, and respect for others. I was amazed by the way you touched these children. You seem to possess such inner beauty, strength and gentleness. It isn’t everyday that young people are able to meet a real life heroine.”
– Barbara Chagniot, Parent, Saint Cecelia School, San Francisco, CA
“I knew your talk would be wonderful. However, I must tell you that it was the moist incredible and inspiring account I have ever heard – far exceeding my highest expectation. You have touched Paul, Emily and myself in a very special way – a way that happens only a few times in a lifetime. Your story is unforgettable and compelling. I promise you that your story will be kept very much alive in the Simpson family.” – Marie Simpson, Parent, Saint Cecelia School, San Francisco, CA
“Your tender and gentle retelling of your story touched the students in such a way that brought out their emotions with every word spoken. It was especially moving to witness the post-presentation reactions of the students as they asked insightful and emotional questions and listened intently for your response. It was no doubt your mannerisms and confidence that allowed them to approach you and your story in this manner. In all, we were greatly touched by this entire experience.” – Bradly Richman, 5th Grade Teacher, P.S. 29, Queens, NY
“Our teachers and students were extremely fortunate to be able to hear first hand accounts of this period in history. Your description of the events that took place during your childhood brought meaning and understanding to their studies of World War11. …Please consider returning to Edwardsville in the 2000-20001 school year to make similar presentations to our high school students. The impact of your words were felt for many weeks as children and teachers discussed the events that touched your life and family…Your are truly a positive role model for young people.”
– Dr. Ed Hightower, Superintendent of Schools, Edwardsville Community Schools, Edwardsville, IL
“I cannot thank you enough for your inspirational and challenging words and your uplifting presence. It was a gift to meet you.”
– Father Daniel Murphy, Blessed Kateri Parish, Sparta, NJ
“You have made a difference in my life and in the lives of the many people whose hearts and souls you have touched.”
– Rabbi Dr. Kenneth B. Fradkin, Jewish Center of Sussex County, NJ
“I am writing to you as a staff person at the Jewish Federation of Reading. I was in the audience and had the opportunity to hear you speak on Sunday evening . I heard you many years ago when you appeared in Reading to commemorate Yom Hashoah. Honestly, your presentation was superb. Those of us who are Jewish have heard your story, as well as many other survivors. The Christian community, many of whom were truly hearing a personal account of a Holocaust survivor for the first time, were saddened by your childhood experience and, at the same time, amazed by the tenacity of your spirit and the beauty of the life you have made for yourself and your family. They could not have chosen a better person to be part of that evening. You are an inspiration to all of us to continue to strive for a better world by starting with ourselves. I wish you and your family peace and good health for the New Year and may you go forth and reach as many people as possible with your life’s story.”
– Barbara Nazimov, Campaign Coordinator, Jewish Federation of Reading, PA
“I was profoundly moved by your courage and bravery as a child living through that horrendous time in history. We are encouraged to hear of your commitment to communicate your experiences and your message of hope to young and old through your book and presentations” – Rudolph F. Crew, Ed. D., Chancellor, Board of Education of the City of New York
“Your serene and peaceful presence (also) served as an excellent role model to the many young people you touched that day. Your message, which stressed the importance of love and forgiveness, clearly explains that ‘light can come from darkness. ” – John E. Wetterauer, Social Studies Department, Von Steuben Middle School, Peoria, IL
“I continue to see your face and hear your voice. Your words expressed the horror of your experience yet they were softened by the goodness and compassion that define you and your life. ..You have a way of reaching out to others and connecting them with the feelings you so eloquently convey.” – Mildred David, Ed. D., Principal, Hewlett Elementary School, NY
“Marion, you had a big impact on our students and on me. I am still thinking daily about you, your experiences, and how you brought the Holocaust to life for us. When you read the letters I send, you will see the impact that you had on my class. I took the letters to the PTA meeting last week and read portions of each to the members of the Parent Teacher Association. I thanked them for helping fund your coming to our school, and they appreciated seeing that it was such a wonderful experience for us all.” – Mary Anne Jusko, Teacher, Robeson School, Champaign, IL
“..Your honesty and grace with which you have responded to such a challenging set of circumstances touched us all You bear witness not only to the Holocaust but to the refusal of the human spirit to be defeated by evil.”
– Paul Longo, Ed. D., Dean, School of Education, Queens College, NY
“It’s so important for kids (and parents) to hear about not only your book FOUR PERFECT PEBBLES, but also to hear about you. To put a human face (and voice) on the words in the book helps everyone feel the reality of what you lived. ..You’re the real thing, Marion, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to bring you to kids via the airwaves.”
– Lou Giansante, Producer, NEW YORK KIDS WNYC, NY
“You are a courageous woman. Your testimony helps insure the awareness in the next generation so perhaps a holocaust can be avoided in the future. .. We would very much like to invite you again and make you a regular part of our Holocaust education program for as long as you wish to have us as an audience.” – Vicki I. Karant, Ed.D., Assistant Principal. Lawrence Middle School, Lawrence, NY
“I just want to thank you for your incredible visit. Your story captured the hearts of the children and will never be forgotten St. Adalbert will use FOUR PERFECT PEBBLES in its Social studies curriculum. Your story will remain with us forever.” – Mrs. Diane Hesterhagen, Principal, St Adalbert School, Staten Island, NY
“Thank you so much for such a wonderful, uplifting presentation today. You (and Nathaniel) are truly amazing. Your story of life during the Holocaust is relevant, historic and touchingly sad. However, you are a truly gifted individual to be able to turn that experience into an extremely powerful motivational discussion with wonderful messages of tolerance, hope and perseverance. You really held the audience’s attention and your emphasis on the need for strength, acceptance of others and independent thinking are such important messages for all, but especially for teens.
The affect on the students was apparent in the large numbers that walked down to meet (and hug) you in person after the presentation. Thank you again for taking the time to reach out to others with your message. I hope many grades to follow will be able to experience your story, dedication and strength first-hand.” – DiAnn Belluccia, PTA, Woodmere-Hewlett PTA, Hewlett, NY
“Your presentation was fantastic and completely enthralled our students. We have talked about it three days since! ” – Julie Martin, Vickie Koch, 6th grade teachers, Wilson Intermediate School, Pekin, IL
“The riveted attention the children gave you was testament to your story and the powerful message of racial harmony you delivered. .Your presence brought to life a very dark period in the history of the world an of the Jewish People.”
– Mark Drexler, C.I.T., Public School 79, Queens, NY
“You ruined my eye makeup as I sat there and the tears rolled down my face, and you destroyed my image of being a ‘strong teacher,’ but I would not have traded the experience for anything. Thank you for sharing your life.”
– Holly Mjaanes, teacher, Lawrence Middle School, Lawrence, NY
“Respect for people has always been a priority for me as a person and certainly as a Catholic school we continue to pride ourselves on those values – your suggestion to look for the similarities in people and not the differences will be a major motivation for us here at Villa. We thank you for who you are and are grateful to be part of your great mission.”
– Sister Anne Dolores, St. John Villa Academy, Staten Island, NY
“Marion has been in Birmingham this week telling her compelling story about her years in a Nazi concentration camp. Aline, our daughter Debbie, and I attended her presentation at Berry Middle School where she held nearly 1200 students spellbound as she told them about her terrible experiences – but also spoke to them about peace and love and how out of darkness there can come light. You could have heard a pin drop while she spoke. The students were very interested and asked some very good questions during the Q&A portion.” – Robert Glasford, (former PHS classmate of Marion) Birmingham, AL
“It is my fervent prayer that your resolve to imprint the young with your story is so successful that they will never allow such atrocities to happen again. You have touched the very soul of Pekin by your presence and those of us who have heard you have been greatly enriched.” – Joan Wood, Public Services Coordinator, Pekin Public Library, Pekin, IL
“Marion, I had the wonderful privilege of hearing your presentation at Gouverneur Middle School in Gouverneur, NY a few years ago. Your grace and eloquence stood in stark contrast with the realities of your story and of your journey. It has remained with me ever since. As a teacher of 15 years I have seen many presentations and yours was the most compelling I’ve ever heard. . If you are in the Northern New York area anytime in the future I would love to have you come and speak to the men of our local Masonic Lodge, of which I am currently in charge of. We would be honored and humbled to hear your story and your message; both of which seem to be sorely missing in our world today. I hope that this email finds you well and I thank you for all that you do on a daily basis to educate us all.” – Richard Haynes, Gouverneur Lodge #217, Gouverneur, NY 13642
“Your speech was profoundly moving for both the students and the adults present. Your messages of tolerance, acceptance and the elimination of prejudice are important lessons that those present will not soon be apt to forget.” – Kellie Herren, 6th grade teacher, Washington Intermediate School, Pekin, IL
” I wanted to let you know how much I really appreciated your addressing the issues of tolerance and kindness with the students as we try and stress these so much here as part of the LifeSkills Program. Hearing you talk after so much violence in our schools should give new importance to this topic.” – James L. Oliger, Principal, Grant Elementary School, Davenport, IA
“Although it was incredibly hot the day you spoke, I have been impressed with the impact which you made on the students. I take an unofficial poll each time my children bring friends home, and I can report to you that you have made them think and have made them aware. …We will have to replenish our stock (of FOUR PERFECT PEBBLES) for Mr. Lawless’ history classes next year.”
– Linda Gates Sahn, Executive Secretary, Peoria High School Alumni Association, Peoria, IL
“I know how many lives you touched in these few hours, and what an incredible mark you and your story made on me. You are a great testament to the ability and strength of the human spirit to triumph and overcome any adversity, a beacon of light in darkness, and an overall inspiration. The legacy of your story will live on through your family, your book, and your ability to touch those around you. I thank you for honoring me with the opportunity to be influenced by your story and enriched by your presence.” – Molly Mihm, Barnes & Noble, Peoria, IL
“Your story made a significant impact on their (the students) understanding of the consequences of hatred and intolerance. Your presentation made this event real… I will be including your story and book in my unit on the Holocaust.”
– Sandra Rayson, Gates Chili Middle School, Rochester, NY
from a letter to the publisher, Greenwillow – “The event was inspiring. Every seat of the 250 person Leonhardt Auditorium was taken, all 100 books sold out. The atmosphere was charged from the moment Mrs. Lazan started to speak. The audience, ranging from middle school students to seniors, was spellbound and not a sound could be heard other than Mrs. Lazan’s compelling words. We thank Marion for a valuable and timely lesson on love, hope and courage and what can be achieved through faith.”
– Molly Knoll, Publicity Representative, Sisterhood Temple Beth Shalom, Vero Beach, FL
“—-for taking the time to be with us, for both teaching us and touching us, for inspiring us with your sensitivities, optimism, and faith, for being such a role model of dignity and menschlichkeit, and for playing such an important role in making our Kristallnacht Program so meaningful, the students and I are deeply appreciative.” – Rabbi Meir Mitelman, Executive Director, Hofstra University Hillel, Hempstead, NY
“It is astounding that you can tell and re-tell these painful experiences and yet emerge hopeful! This I believe is a credit to your strong faith and belief in the goodness of mankind. As the teachers work with the students in follow-up activities, I will urge them to remind the students that your final message was one of hope for the future.” – Margaret M. Balfe, Principal, Our Lady of Victory School, Mt. Vernon, NY
“I see many authors and hear them speak, but I never heard a more riveting and emotional story. many people came up to me and said it was one of our most moving events to date.” – Juliana, Manager, Bibelot Book Shop, Baltimore, MD
” Even though you shared a dark and painful story, the goodness and determination of your family shone through the ordeal. ..I have recommend your talk to other Catholic school principals.” – Marianne Kraft, Principal, St. Euthanasia School, Bronx, NY
“Your message was clear and powerful, viz., that today’s students are the last generation who have the opportunity to hear the stories of survivors and, therefor, it is their responsibility to retell them to their children and grandchildren; and, also, that the world can only be saved by tolerance, and that tolerance is taught foremost at home. . You came to Bronx Science for a few hours, but the positive impact of your words will last for years.”
– Stanley Blumenstein, Principal, Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY
“..You helped our students to personally visualize what the conditions were like at this time and place. The fact that you were the same age as our students when you experienced these events had a tremendous impact on them as well. I especially liked your positive approach with our students, You emphasized the importance of keeping your mind active and staying focused on the things you could do within the existing conditions and situation.”
– Joyce Anderson, Principal, Middle School of Piedmont, Piedmont, OK
“The memories you shared, although often painful, touched each member of the audience and could be witnessed by the rapt attention they gave to you. ..I know that your message of love and forgiveness will remain with the students.”
– Lorraine Bianco, Young Adult Librarian, Uniondale Public Library, Uniondale, NY
“The students were enthralled and captivated by your presence. You made history come alive for them.” – Pam Blevins Teacher, Brink Junior High School, Oklahoma City, OK
“Hi! I just wanted to tell you what an amazing impression it made on Cory to meet Marion Blumenthal Lazan yesterday. He felt so honored to be selected to meet her and ask her a question. I know he was nervous, but was quite proud of how he managed it! He has been talking about her for some time now, so I know he was deeply touched by her story, and thrilled to meet her. Thank you for giving Cory this opportunity.” – Letter from a parent to student’s teacher, Avon, CT
From a letter to Avon Books – ” I plan on using Four Perfect Pebbles in conjunction with Night to enable our students to realize more fully the horror and tragedy of the Holocaust. Marion Blumenthal Lazan transforms history from a litany of facts and policies to a living world that trapped real people, a paradoxical world of heartlessness and hope. ..To study the Holocaust is to experience the chilling, viscerally searing horror of what Elie Wiesel calls Night. Yet that night still had stars that gleamed with a message of hope arising from bleakest despair. Marion Blumenthal Lazan is such a shinning beacon.”– Jacqueline M. Erwin, Ph.D., Senior Instructor, Department of English, Culver Military Academy; Culver Girl’s Academy
“Certain experiences in a lifetime become etched in one’s mind forever. Your visit .. is one of those memorable experiences which will be etched in the minds of all members of our school community. .The message of tolerance and respect for others that you gave us was very powerful.” – Irma P. Cummings, Principal; Josephine Tortorella, Assistant Principal, Our Lady Star of the Sea School, Staten Island, NY
“I cannot overestimate the impact your presentation made on all who heard you. Today, throughout the school – in the halls, the classrooms, the teachers’ lounge – teachers and students alike are discussing your visit and powerful message that you imparted to our Woodland family. . Your beautiful message of tolerance, love, and peace, which grew out of a horrendous experience of intolerance, hate and war, was delivered with such warmth and generosity of spirit that all of us who heard you were deeply touched. We left with a determination to spread and to live your message, and also with a tremendous respect for, and admiration of, you as a person, a survivor and a messenger of peace.” – Deirdre Hayes, Department Chair, English/Social Studies, Woodland Middle School. East Meadow, NY
“Please know that when you share your Holocaust experiences, you are giving perhaps more than you intended. Our students and teachers did not learn only about the horrors of the Holocaust. They learned much, much more. They learned that a child who experiences horror beyond imagining at the hands of cruel adults can grow up to be a person who loves and gives generously to society. They learned that one chooses bitterness and cynicism. They are not inevitable products of bad experiences if one is determined to live life. They learned that a child denied an education can exceed all expectations, can blossom intellectually when finally given a chance to learn because, more than luckier people, she knows the value of what was denied. They learned that a child reared in terror and misery can grow to be a charming woman of good character and fine morals. In short, anyone who spends time with Marion must learn that we need not be victimized by our experiences but, instead, can use them to temper our intentions and strengthen our will. You bring hope to all lives you touch.” – Dolores Norman, Media Specialist, Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School, Plainview, NY
“I give thanks to G-d for the enablement He gave you to make such a wonderful presentation and also the wisdom in answering the multiplicity of questions that you were asked. The opportunity it provided for racial intermix, spiritual fellowship and intellectual stimulation can only prove mutually beneficial.” – Lindsay Arscott, Pastor, Church of God of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
“Your ability to deliver a fresh and engaging story day after day (and hour after hour in most cases!) exceeded my expectations. I know what it takes to hold an audience. Marion, you surpassed yourself each and everytime. I truly respect you as a speaker.” -Sheila Morrissey, Writer & Producer, Edmond, OK
“You are the magic when you walk in a room – it lights up. You make everyone feel special. Thanks for spending a week of your life with us. What a wonderful and special gift. You have touched my life and heart. What a blessing God sent me in the form of Marion Blumenthal Lazan. May I share that blessing, and may it multiply and touch the hearts and minds of the children and teachers throughout Oklahoma.” – Shelley Pulliam, Teacher, Cimarron Middle School and President of the Oklahoma Holocaust Resource Center
“Rarely have I had the opportunity to see 2,500 teachers sit in awed silence as they did when you spoke. In today’s intolerant world your message of tolerance, love hope and peace is so critical, yet very few people have the ability to express these ideals as eloquently as you.” – Harry A. Briggs, Regional Superintendent of Schools, Madison County, IL
“The story of your courage and survival during a time of horror and destruction certainly was awe inspiring and impacted greatly on all our students who otherwise cannot begin to understand the kind of strength it took to survive with the spirit and energy you possess.” – Rabbi Joel Cohen, Principal, S/A/R Academy, Riverdale, NY
“Your courage and positive attitude were both truly amazing and extremely inspirational. Thank you for helping our students have a better understanding of the horrific events surrounding the Holocaust.” – Dr. David R. Lett, Principal, Seneca Grade School, Seneca, IL
“Your message was an expression of love for our future generations….Out of the horrible history of the Holocaust came you and your story. I know that as a parent and an educator, you have provided my own child a lesson I could never possible share.” – Jo Anne Woiwode, Principal, Byron High School, Byron, IL
“…thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing a book and then presenting it to PS 32 in Flushing, NY. My son, Thomas, who is in the 6th grade, was very impressed with your courage and love towards children. Your life has touched the hearts of so many and that is a miracle. God Bless you. – Lazara Stathes, Parent
“You are a symbol of hope, determination and love, to us here….I shall never forget your story…and will use it forever.”
– Anna Marie Collins, Teacher, Cobleskill-Richmondville Middle School, Warnerville, NY
“Of all the speakers we’ve had at AAG, I don’t remember anyone who’s had as profound an impact on such a wide range of students, faculty members and parents as you did. …One teacher said ‘her story touched the students in a way no other means of communication could.’ ” – Audrey H Librarian, Albany Academy for Girls, Albany, NY
“You are such an inspiration to the world. Your visit was incredibly wonderful and the students loved both you and Nathaniel. It had to be one of the best days in my teaching career!” – Jennie Lamb, Teacher, Shepherd Middle School, Ottawa, IL
“…..my niece went because she was receiving credit in a class, and I went because of…….. My niece and I received much more than extra credit, we experienced a life changing evening, and we did it together. Thank you so much.” – Kathryn Lewis, Memphis, TN
“You are a role model not only for middle school girls, but for all of us!” – Judy Rowley, Albany Academy for Girls, Albany, NY
“You have become part of the Lawrence Middle School tradition; so much so that once I arrived to the district to begin my new post as Curriculum Director for ELA, Reading, and Social Studies. I was told to be sure to contact you for a visit in the spring. It would be a pleasure and honor for us to invite you again to share your experiences with our middle school students. We are thankful for your dedication to educate our students about such a pivotal part of history.”
– Johane Ligonde, Curriculum Director, Lawrence Middle School, Lawrence, NY
“As the counselor at the middle school, I know many of the students’ stories and I watched as some of “wounded” students listened to your story. I saw a child whose mother was brutally murdered a year and a half ago lean forward and listen as you told her that we can survive anything. I saw our students who have been homeless listen as you told them that you found a new place and started again. I saw students whose language and culture, Ojibwa, almost disappeared because their grandparents were forced into boarding schools and beaten for speaking their language, hear that rebuilding is possible. I watched as some of my fellow staff members realized for the first time the full horror of the Holocaust. I saw students who usually had a hard time sitting still for five minutes and who run over one another in ‘middle school hurry,’ sit completely still for one hour and then stay behind just to be near you and get their book signed. I have one more word for you to define: miracle (I’ll tell you)-your survival, your story and your humanity -YOU TWO.”
– Alana Friedman, Counselor, Cloquet Middle School, Cloquet, MN
“Marion, you spoke of how you question periodically why it is that you survived when so many did not. And then you said you found the answer in your nine grandchildren. I believe it is safe to say that many of us find another reason why you were the one who was ‘allowed’ to survive…you touch so many lives. You speak so well, your message is so powerful and so powerfully delivered, and you touch so many lives. I thank God for you. You are so special.”
– Deb Fisher, Teacher, Cloquet Middle School, Cloquet, MN
“Hearing your story again at the IRC was inspiring. You have a unique, sad, and ultimately glorious story to tell, and you tell it with both heart and mind. God has blessed you richly.”
– Caroljean N. Peters, Freeburg School, New Athens, IL
“I wanted to share with you that one of the students remarked; ‘Mrs. Lazan
went through a lot as a child, but she came out of the horrors of the
Holocaust a whole and loveable person. What a miracle! She has influenced my life.’ ” – Diane Mazeski, Reading Specialist, Washburne School, Winnetka, IL
“I cannot believe the two of you! **YOU ARE SO WONDERFUL!!** My part of mentioning this on the listserv last spring was so very small–I was happy to do it! The message you are spreading to young and old around the country–and even world–is very badly needed. I know that it’s tiring for you at times, but yet you keep going. THANK YOU!!! Your visit to Maquoketa will always be remembered!” – Merry Kahn, Librarian, Briggs Elementary School, Maquoketa, IA
“Marion Blumenthal Lazan is a great speaker/author. She co-authored the book Four Perfect Pebbles with Lila Perl which addresses her experience in the Holocaust through liberation. I became aware of her last year on LM_NET when Betty Wolfe at Avon Middle School in CT raved about Marion B. Lazan’s presentation. I want to second that! I visited her website and inquired about her speaking in Andover, KS–next thing I know she was on the phone! After many details were ironed out she spoke at Andover, Kansas’ two middle schools and 2 high schools (as well as presented in Wichita and Circle) It was the most heartwarming, touching, meaningful presentation I have ever heard. We have had comments from seasoned teachers that the presentation was the best they have ever heard. And the students! WOW! The middle schoolers were quiet and respectful for over an hour (one school had their presentation in the gym and you could hear a pin drop!), the high schoolers were attentive for 1 ½ hours! The students had great questions, listened and got Marion’s message. Marion speaks about her experiences but brings a message of tolerance of others, respecting others (esp. parents). The students heard her message! I have had high schoolers tell me they hope their ‘group’ heard her message. It’s a powerful presentation! If you are interested go to https://www.fourperfectpebbles.com for her website. She encourages students (as well as others) to e-mail her and she will e-mail back! She charges per presentation plus expenses. She is worth every dime! I visited our civic organizations here in town and got donations to pay for flight, hotel etc. If you have a chance e-mail her. Arrange for a visit!
She is outstanding! (make sure you allow plenty of time for questions, that’s the best part!) Oh, by the way–“Marion’s Triumph ” a documentary of her story is being shown on many PBS stations in April. Check your TV list. It is narrated by Debra Messing. Thanks for letting me share my enthusiasm for Marion Blumenthal Lazan”
– Rita Herl, LMS, Andover Central Middle School, KS
“I am a parent of one of the children you spoke to at the Farmington Middle School. I just wanted to thank you for investing in our children and speaking wisdom into their lives. I was standing in the back to listen because my husband (the choral director at Avon Middle School) told me what a life changing story you told and that everyone should have the chance to hear it. Thank you for sharing your story! Thank you for sharing your love for your husband! It is so beautiful to see a couple married for so many years, so much in love! Thank you for writing your book, so that your story can be passed down for generations. We will definitely pass it along!
May God Bless you and your family very richly for many years to come! ” – Lisa, A parent, Unionville, CT
“My son and I enjoy receiving your emails. I wanted to take the time to thank you for the inspiration you helped start in him. In first grade we began the process of having Jonathan tested. He was placed in Special Ed. for Language Arts classes. He had to be forced to read. I had always told him of my interest in the Holocaust and WWII. But I must say that he never got as interested until we saw you speak in Parker City, IN. He now has been to hear other authors from this era, gone to WWII reenactments, visited the Holocaust museum in D.C., and read many novels. He is now at grade level in reading, passing our state test. In the history section he received a Pass +. I just wanted to express my gratitude for your wonderful story and inspiration. THANK YOU!”
– Marge H., A Parent, Parker City, IN
“Your story and those of the Holocaust are an inspiration and a never-ending message of how hope, faith and determination can help anyone rise above the hatred.” – Andrea Krauss
“Having read and followed your perseverance has made me a more tolerable person, which I think I was anyway, but a better human being just the same. I listen more than I ever did and I don’t focus on how it was said so much as to what is said and why.” – Michael
“Thank you so much for delivering such a message of hope and peace to our eighth graders on Monday at the Grand Forks Air force Base. I could see in their faces how you were affecting them. As an eighth grade teacher, I know these are difficult years for them as they try to find their ways in the world, and I was so glad when you emphasized respect for each other — tolerance of differences. Having you say that makes a greater impact on them as opposed to our saying it. Thank you, also, for taking time to autograph your books for us. I saw that you had included two additional books. We will donate one to our school library, and the second one will be donated to Trinity High School in Dickinson, ND. Their library suffered damage due to a fire earlier this year, so I know they will be so happy to have a special autographed copy. Thank you again for all you’ve done for our students. Your visit has been the highlight of our year.” – Valley Eagles Teachers – Matt Bakke, Joe Fricione, Rita Gray, Natalie Young, and Any Christianson
“Dear Marion, I want to thank you for the profound and moving talk you shared with our community at this year’s Yom Hashoah commemoration. You not only helped us to understand something of horror of the Shoah through the prism of your own experience; you inspired all of us to act in ways that embody tolerance and menschlichite.” – Rabbi Andrew Warmflash, Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre, NY
“Good Morning Marion, my 8th grade colleagues and I would love to have you speak virtually with our students again. It continues to be a highly memorable and life-changing experience for our students” – Amanda Lindquist – Superiot Middle School, Superior, WI