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Holocaust survivor to share message of optimism with Parkland families

Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-02 18:43:14-05

A Holocaust survivor who knows the pain of horrible loss has a message of hope as he prepares to go to Parkland.
As the community around the corner struggles with tragedy and heartache and the question of how can anyone possibly move forward, there maybe one person who has the right words to say.

“My mother taught me optimism, to look forward,” said 77-year-old Michael Bornstein. “She had a saying of 'gam ze y’avor.’ In Hebrew, it means this too shall pass."

Bornstein was only 4-years-old, when he was liberated from Auschwitz. Video archives show him being carried out in his grandmothers arms.

His father and brother though, never made it out alive. “I seems to remember the smell of burning flesh in Auschwitz,” said Bornstein.

His mother risked her own life to sneak him food. To this day, Bornstein will not let food go to waste.

“That stayed with me . I just have trouble. I was emaciated when I got out I didn’t have any hair that would grow."

While it took decades, Bornstein is finally sharing his story, with the help of his daughter Debbie, a journalist by trade.

“We started learning new information about his survival that made him feel a little more empowered and more ready to speak,” said Debbie Bornstein Holinstat.

His message is two fold. First, always remember the Holocaust. “Discrimination is here. You can’t deny it,” said Bornstein.

The other part brings us back to Parkland. “There are few people on earth who really understand tragedy in the way that my dad does,” said Holinstat.

Included in his message to those Parkland families on Monday, "this too shall pass."