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Holocaust survivor from Michigan writes new book to keep world from forgetting

Irene Butter headshot
Stateside Staff
Michigan Radio
Irene Butter said she "feels a responsibility" to share her story of living through the Holocaust, especially now that anti-semitic views that were previously "underground" are becoming increasingly public.



Cover of Butter's book, Shores Beyond Shores
Credit White River Press, 2018
White River Press, 2018

Some 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust, and those who survived have lived so long, they're now watching the world forget. 

A recent poll shows 66 percent of American millennials don't know what Auschwitz is. Another 22 percent had not heard of the Holocaust or weren't sure if they had. 



So there is fresh urgency in recording and remembering survivor stories — stories like Irene Hasenberg Butter's.


In the spring of 1943, she and her family were ordered out of their Amsterdam apartment, loaded into a cattle car, and sent to a holding camp before eventually being transported to Bergen Belsen, the concentration camp where some 50,000 people died. 


Irene Butter tells her story of survival and forgiveness in her new memoir Shores Beyond Shores: from Holocaust to Hope, my True Story. It's co-authored by John D. Bidwell and Kris Holloway. 


Irene Butter, professor emerita of Public Health at the University of Michigan and co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Project, joined Stateside to share her story. 


Listen above to hear about her childhood and internment, why she began sharing her story later in life, and her thoughts on how we keep the world from forgetting. 


Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


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