Today we welcomed back returning snowbird and frequent visiting Rotarian Bill Nielsen.  Also in attendance today was Jim Peterson, guest and brother of Jerry Peterson.
Our guest speaker, Iris Tzafrir, gave a very moving perspective on the Jewish Holocaust.  Iris was born on a Kibbutz in Israel to parents who were both concentration camp survivors.  Iris and her three siblings grew up in a loving family but always felt the heavy burden of sadness that their parents carried.  The family felt alone in the world, with no surviving aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents.  Iris did not share her history with anyone until her son volunteered her to speak at his school in 2010.  This presentation gave her a sense of healing and led her to commit to sharing her story with as many groups as possible.  She reminded us that genocide continude, including in current day Syria. She urged us to commit ourselves to speak and think in ways that counteract this continuing threat.  In 2013, she and her siblings accompanied their father to Europe to visit the places of significance from his past.  These included the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and retracing a portion of the death march her father survived in the concluding days of WWII.  10,000 prisoners began the march, but only 3,000 survived to arrive in Buchenwald, Germany where they were liberated by U.S. forces. 
A miraculous discovery occurred around this time, when Iris obtained documents through the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. that led her to find that one of her father's six siblings had actually survived the war.  His eldest sister had lived through her imprisonment and been able to move to Israel following the war.  The siblings had lived within 75 miles of each other for decades without realizing it.  Sadly, the sister had passed away before this fact was discovered.  Nonetheless, there was great happiness to discover newfound family.
Iris is a co-worker of Glenn Bowers and we thank him as well as Kay Baker for arranging this presentation.