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Holocaust survivor shares experience to teach younger generation to reject hate, 'spread kindness'

Ann Jaffe Holocaust Survivor
Rebecca Baer
Delaware Public Media
Holocaust survivor Ann Jaffe with daughter Linda Jaffe Sereduke

Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27th - honoring the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and other victims of the Nazi regime.

For one Delaware resident, those atrocities are hard to forget.

Delaware Public Media's Rebecca Baer sat down with Holocaust survivor Ann Jaffe to hear her story

Delaware Public Media's Rebecca Baer interviews Holocaust survivor Ann Jaffe

Ann Jaffe of Wilmington has given over 400 talks and lectures at schools, universities and churches. She’s a Holocaust survivor with a remarkable story.

Holocaust Survivor Ann Jaffe family
Jaffe Family
Ann Jaffe and her family in Poland before the war.

At ten years old, she and her family escaped the
Nazis by hiding in the woods for nearly two years.

She said the cold, hunger, and constant fear were overwhelming and at times, she didn't want to live, but she persevered.

"The desire for life is so strong especially for those of us who were able to escape from the ghettos and saw what the Nazis had done and so we felt that there needed to be some witnesses to tell the world what the Nazis had done,” she said.

At first, she says it was hard to share her story, but now, she does it to teach people to reject hate - a lesson she said she learned from her father.

“When the war was over, I told him that I hate the free world that did nothing to help us," she said.

Ann Jaffe teenager
Jaffe Family
Jaffe as a teenager after the war when her family was relocated to a displaced persons camp. Later, they immigrated to Canada before Jaffe came to the U.S.

"He was very upset with me and he called me over and said I have to teach you something.  He said, 'We were hated, did you like it?' And I told him no, I hated it.  So he said, 'Why would you do unto others that which is hateful to you?'” 

Jaffe went on to advocate for legislation that requires Delaware students to learn about the Holocaust. For her efforts, she was recently inducted at the age of 90 into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame.

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Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.