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A Holocaust Survivor's Encouragement During Coronavirus: ‘The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Dawn’

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Gerda Weissmann Klein, 95, wants to encourage humanity that we will make it through this COVID-19 crisis.

“During this difficult time in the world, I have to harken back to my own life’s experiences,” Klein explained recently.

She should know.  Klein is a survivor of the Holocaust.  In 1939, German troops invaded her home in Beilsko, Poland. Fifteen-year-old Gerda was forced to live in the basement of her home for nearly three years before being separated from her parents.

For the next three years, Klein, who never lost hope and the will to live, endured slave-labor and concentration camps.  Finally, she was forced to walk in a 350-mile death march. Some 2,000 women were subjected to exposure, starvation and arbitrary execution.  Less than 120 of them survived.

“What is threatening us now is a different evil. I fully realize that our enemy is a vicious virus,” she said.


“However, blessedly, we now have our freedom to act to fight with the certainty that we shall overcome this challenging adversity. I pray for you and your families, knowing the darker the night, the brighter the dawn,” she said.

Klein has written ten books, including her autobiography, “All But My Life,” which has been in print for 60 years and was the basis for the Oscar and Emmy award-winning HBO documentary “One Survivor Remembers.”

Gerda met her future husband Kurt Klein, a US Army intelligence office – a refugee from Germany – when he liberated her on May 7, 1945. She was nearly 21.

For more than six decades, as an author, historian and speaker, Klein has told her powerful message of hope, inspiration, love and humanity.

In 2011, President Obama awarded her the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, along with others like former President George H.W. Bush.

“Gerda Weissmann Klein has taught the world that it is often in our most hopeless moments that we discover the extent of our strength and the depth of our love,” Obama said at the time.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel full-time for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism, then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91, and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and the