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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Light in Darkness: A Survivor’s Story

Featured Book

Reviewed by Kathryn Berman

Light in Darkness

Simon Sterling as told to Phyllis Sterling Jacobs
Phyllis Sterling Jacobs, 2005
112 pages

Simon Sterling finally shared his wartime experiences with his daughter Phyllis. Snippets of information had filtered through the silence of forty years, but she had never heard the full story. The result is a very moving account of his survival while hiding in the forests of Poland with his wife and other family members.

The story, recorded, transcribed, and written by his daughter in Simon’s own words, is sometimes a little hard to understand, but it brings more authenticity to this story, by “hearing” it in his own words. From the dialogue we understand that his perseverance, determination, and optimism were factors in the survival of the family members hiding with him.

Sterling-Jacobs also uses letters and photographs to expand the account of her father’s experiences.

A large component of the account concerns Anton Lukasiewicz and his wife Franka, without whose help Simon could not have survived. They provided food, shelter, and advice to the hiding Jews throughout their ordeal and later were honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. Stanislaw Mazak, a Polish priest, was also instrumental in helping the family and was subsequently honored as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

When the Second World War ended, the family eventually made its way to Fohrenwald, a Displaced Person’s camp in Germany, and finally after several years of waiting, made their way to America.

Various components in the book make this suitable as an important educational tool for students. The book can be read in a couple of hours and in addition to learning about the hardships of the Holocaust, students will also be exposed to the topic of Righteous Among the Nations, liberation, life after the Shoah, and issues regarding children of Holocaust survivors, known as the 2nd Generation.

The book is dedicated to Zygmunt Sterling, the brother that Phyllis Sterling-Jacobs never knew, who died in the Brody Ghetto in 1943 aged 6.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be sent to Yad Vashem. Orders can be made from the author at sterlinjac@aol.com