Marion Blumenthal Lazan
The first time I met Marion she carried a picture of her 104-year old mother, who took care of her throughout the war. She was born in the small German town of Hoya an der Weser, near Hannover, where just 30 Jewish citizens encountered the arrival of the Nazis in 1938. Marion, her mother and brother were the only ones to survive the war. The family spent nearly six years in several concentration camps, including Westerbork, where she might have met Anne Frank, and Bergen Belsen, from where they were liberated in 1945. A few years later they settled in Peoria, Illinois, where Marion met her husband and life partner Nathaniel Lazan, a former pilot in the US Air Force. Since 1979 Marion has spoken to over one million people, mostly students, in the United States and Europe about her wartime experiences. She is part of a large, observant family, and has been honored by her native community in Germany on several occasions.
Today Marion, a resident of Hewlett, NY for almost 58 years, spends much of her time sharing her Holocaust experiences as a child in public, private and parochial schools of all denominations throughout the United States, the UK, Germany, Israel, and the Netherlands. Marion has received many awards and honors for the work she does, but an outstanding event was the naming of a high school in Germany in her honor – the Marion Blumenthal Oberschule. Although now in her mid-80’s, Marion keeps a rigorous schedule, having made 21 round trip flights in 2017, plus auto trips to local venues. Marion does this as she knows today’s generation is the last to hear first-hand accounts of that dark time in history.