Rebecca is a special education teacher who resides in New York (state). While teaching middle school students with special needs, Ms. Freimann spent several years teaching Holocaust studies to religious school students.
Rebecca’s inspiration for writing Family Tree: Rooted in Survival came after more than eight years of family research. She began her research, seeking answers for her father, who did not know his family line past his grandparents. He also did not know what became of his family during the Holocaust. A cousin of Ms. Freimann’s mother had previously done extensive research of that side of the family, but Rebecca was able to uncover even more.
These stories were not passed down throughout generations, as her family was one of those so affected that they did not wish to discuss their past. Research reached its end and much of what was known came from memories of Rebecca’s parents and what they remembered living through. As Rebecca learned her family’s fates through her research, she realized that many followed their own paths and there were many different stories to tell. She wanted to streamline these stories into a sequenced timeline, to allow better comprehension for her family. She sought to show the parallel life of those moving on without their families. Ms. Freimann wanted the voices of her ancestors to speak through the stories. “I wanted to give them a voice so that they may be heard again.”
Family Tree: Rooted in Survival is being well received. As a first-time author, Ms. Freimann was wary about the reactions to her writing. “I have gotten nothing but good reviews,” she tells us. “People have told me that I have made them cry. There are friends who have bought my book who have told me they don’t know much about the Holocaust. For them…my book provides a personal connection to the Holocaust rather than simply reading words in a history book. For this unexpected teaching moment, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity. I had something to say – my family had something to say – and I’m so thankful that people are interested in listening.”
Several libraries in the Hudson Valley of New York and in Pennsylvania have agreed to carry the book on a limited basis. Most notably, the book will be in the libraries of Yad Vashem: World Holocaust Center Jerusalem as well as in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.