My German-Jewish grandmother’s childhood autograph book survived the Holocaust. It is one of the few that did.

(JTA) — In 1916, in the picturesque German village of Heinebach, a 14-year-old girl named Elisabeth Schmidtkunz penned a sweet message in her classmate Jenny Katz’s autograph book.

“Jenny! Get to know people,” wrote Elisabeth. “People are changeable. Some who call you a friend today, might talk about you tomorrow! With love from your classmate, Elisabeth.”

One hundred and five years later, Elisabeth’s 84-year-old daughter Johanna was astonished to read her mother’s words for the first time. “It was a very special joy and surprise for me,” she said in German. “The sight of that page touched me very much.”

Join Our Mailing List

Stay up to date on conference news and updates