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Hastings Holocaust Survivor Stresses The Importance Of Remembering

Ed Lessing
Ed Lessing Photo Credit: Submitted

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Ed Lessing, who survived the Holocaust by posing as a Christian stable boy, first on isolated Dutch farms and later, in the woods as part of an armed resistance group, will be spending Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday telling his story yet again, to an audience at Temple Beth Am in Yorktown Heights.

The sought-after speaker -- he has been a primary keynote for the Hidden Child Foundation/ADL, is on the Speaker's Bureau for the Holocaust & Humans Rights Education Center in White Plains and speaks to numerous Tri-State area schools and synagogues-- said it's important for the world to never forget the genocide against the Jewish people.

At 88-years-young, Lessing is still very active and he said, when he speaks to school children, he often makes comparisons to Nazism and the beheadings and abuctions taking place in Africa and the Middle East.

"Every morning when I get up and look at The New York Times and see these headlines, I feel like I'm right back in the time of Hitler," he said.

Lessing was born in Holland and grew up in a secular Jewish family. He was 14-years-old during the German invasion of Holland. He and his family -- his parents and two younger brothers -- all went into different hiding spots. Many of his stories include narrow escapes, from his days in the armed resistance in the woods when it was raided -- twice -- by German troops, to others where his mother saved his life three times.

After she was caught and deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Lessing survived the last winter of World War II with his father and brothers hiding in a small cottage deep in the Dutch countryside.

When the war ended, his family, all whom survived, emigrated to the U.S. He married another Holocaust survivor and left for Israel where they lived for five years.

In 1956 they returned to New York, eventually moving to Hastings where they raised two children.

The stories of Lessing and his wife, Carla, are described in the book "The Hidden Children, The Secret Survivors of the Holocaust;" and he is also featured in a four-part educational movie entitled "Testimony of the Human Spirit."

A retired graphics designer, Lessing is a watercolor artist who often paints memories of the Holocaust. He is a member of Hasting's Upstream Gallery ; go here to view some of his work.

For other Holocaust-related stories, go here .

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