Monday Morning Magic, May 16, 2022 — It was Yom Kippur, 1944, when Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoner Lily Ebert promised herself: I will survive. She swore to tell the world her story for everyone who couldn’t. Today, this remarkable 98-year-old is the co-author of the powerful memoir, Lily’s Promise, which she wrote with her 18-old great-grandson, Dov. Since the book’s publication in September, the duo has become a TikTok sensation with nearly 2 million followers. It is an honor to feature Lily and Dov on the cover of the May issue of InkandescentBooks.com.
Lily admits that it took decades before she found the courage to tell the tale of her happy childhood in Hungary, the death of her mother and two youngest siblings on their arrival at Auschwitz, and her determination to keep her two other sisters safe. “I always wanted to pay tribute to my family, and the millions of others who have nobody to remember them,” explains Lily, who after the war built a new life for herself in Israel, then in London. “But I didn’t want to speak of the horrors for years because I didn’t want to upset my children who I deeply loved.”
In the 1980s, she knew the time had come to speak out. She took her story to students, politicians, and workplaces. When the coronavirus pandemic rocked the world, Dov convinced Lily it was now time to take her message to a global audience. “I knew there would come a time when I can’t do this anymore, and Dov proved he could help carry on my legacy,” says Lily, whose portrait is one of several Holocaust survivors recently unveiled at Buckingham Palace.
Soon-to-be a high school graduate Dov explains: “I cannot recall a time where I was not aware that my great-grandmother was a survivor — not only of Auschwitz but of Nazi enforced slave labor and the Death March. Her experience is a part of me and all of Lily’s many descendants. So as soon as lockdown rules eased, I was struck by a newfound determination to absorb and preserve her testimony while I still had the chance.”
We leave you with this parting thought of the week from Lily: “My message of hope is: Never, ever give up. Be tolerant of each other and remember nobody is better or worse than you; we are only different. Appreciate that.”
Until next Monday: May you embrace the wisdom of Lily Ebert and give thanks for all the gifts in your beautiful life. — Hope Katz Gibbs, founder, and president, Inkandescent® Inc. Inkandescent.us