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Try To Remember, Never Forget - Author Addresses Mar Vista High School

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 11:13 am

Sandra Scheller is the author of the book entitled “Try To Remember, Never Forget.” Her inspiration for writing this book came from her mother, a Holocaust survivor. Her mother’s name is Ruth Goldschmiedova Sax, and while she may have passed away only a short while ago in December 2018, her legacy continues to be spread through the words of her daughter. Scheller loves speaking to the youth about her mother’s experiences, and on Thursday, April 11, she came to Mar Vista High School to do just that.

Scheller held her presentation in Diana Tellez’s class for her history students. She brought a slideshow and a number of props, including a copy of her book, and the dress that inspired its cover art. The dress belonged to her grandmother, also a Holocaust survivor. Though Scheller is related to Holocaust survivors, she’s also related to many who didn’t get to see liberation. She began her presentation by honoring many of her relatives who were killed in a number of different Nazi concentration camps. She proceeded to display a timeline of events her mother recalled, one of which being April 11, 1945. Scheller spoke excitedly about this, “The 11th of April, 74 years ago, my mother wakes up and they say get in the train, and she’s going. Where are they going? The Russians are coming: liberation. This is the day, 74 years ago, that liberation began.”

She detailed the hardships her mother had to endure during World War II. From being forced to sew the Star of David onto her clothes to identify herself as a Jew, to being examined by Dr. Mengele, better known as “The Angel of Death,” half a dozen times, Ruth Sax had her fair share of obstacles. One may wonder what it takes for a person to survive in conditions like the ones Scheller describes. For Sax, it took a lot of hope. Scheller told the class about how her mother used to entertain herself by making small figurines from bread and saliva, or hammering bullet casings into pendants that could be worn as necklaces. Small things like this were enough to keep her morale at a bearable level.

Ruth Sax has been recognized by many for her courage and perseverance. At Comic-Con in 2018, she was named “superhero without a cape.” She was the 2018 Bonitafest Grand Marshal. She even received an honorary doctorate from Southwestern College. Scheller also showed the class pictures of letters that her mother had received from President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. She described the wall in her mother’s house where all of her awards were hung, along with photos and memories from her childhood. That wall represents her journey from before, during, and after the war. Scheller described her hopes of one day having a South Bay museum where she can display all of her mother’s memorabilia. She said, “I want you all to have a place to hang out, and study, and be around somebody who has hope.”

Scheller works tirelessly to carry on her mother’s message to the youth in her community. Scheller will be showing a film she worked on about her mother’s experiences on May 2, at 6 p.m. at the Chula Vista Library.

When one of the students asked her if she ever gets sad when presenting because she has to look at all of the pictures of her mother, she replied, “It doesn’t make me sad, it makes me happy, because I get to see my mom and the rest of my family.”

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