#SaveTheirStories: Preserving Holocaust Diaries & Putting Them Online

Last fall, when we were planning our family trip to Washington, D.C., I asked each of my daughters to pick a museum we had to make sure we visited during our short stay. Samira, then eight-years-old, chose the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

Samira has wanted to learn as much as she can about the Holocaust ever since she was in Kindergarten, when she and I read Patricia Polaco’s The Butterfly, a children’s book about the Nazi occupation of France (see How Do You Talk To A Child About The Holocaust?). Two years later, in second grade, Samira chose to study Anne Frank for her “famous historical figure” project. She has read Anne Frank’s diary several times.

Anne Frank is one of many people who recorded their experiences during the Holocaust in a diary.  In addition to published first person accounts of the Holocaust, there are also over 200 unpublished diaries in the USHMM’s collection that need to be catalogued, translated, and made available to the public.

To preserve and make these diaries publicly available, the USHMM has started a Kickstarter Campaign to raise $250,000 by July 13, 2017. The USHMM explains: “As the survivor generation passes, it is our responsibility to make sure their voices live on so that their experiences will not be forgotten. You can be a part of preserving history: Back this project and Save Their Stories.”

My family supported this campaign at Samira’s request. We hope you’ll consider supporting it too.



  1. I’m thinking I didn’t even know what a museum was when I was in second grade. Your daughter is going to go on to rule this world, Amal! I wasn’t aware that there were so many unpublished diaries from the Holocaust. I do know that people seem hyper aware that the generation that experienced the Holocaust is disappearing. I wonder why Anne Frank’s book was published while so many others were put away instead. And as must as a best-seller her diary is, it seems like it would be priority #1 to publish the diaries in the museum and use the money to support causes and help survivors, etc.

  2. Thanks for spreading the word about this project. A friend of mine was an interviewer of local Holocaust survivors and spoke to us a bit about the difficulty but importance of interviewing and recording those memories. It was difficult volunteer work that had her traveling all over the state and speaking the three languages she was fluent in. I was lucky enough to hear a survivor speak in person back in college, but it’s so important we preserve these memories for future generations as well!

    1. It is so important to preserve these experiences. I hope my daughter will get the opportunity to hear a survivor speak in person. A survivor came to my elementary school to speak, but that was a long time ago, when more Holocaust survivors were still alive.

  3. What an excellent project. Samira is one special girl. I’m sure at her age if my parents asked me what museum I wanted to be sure to visit I would not have said the Holocaust museum. I love how you are all so supportive of each one’s interests!

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