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  • Alyssa Kornacki

Sharon Cameron Visits Canisius on the UN Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Alyssa Kornacki, News Reporter

Have you ever sat at the feet of your hero? Jan. 27 was chosen as the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day to commemorate the date when the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army in 1945. The day remembers the killing of six million Jews, two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Sharon Cameron, a #1 New York Times–bestselling author visited Canisius on Thursday to discuss "The Light in Hidden Places" about two Polish sisters who sheltered Jewish people during WWII. Based on a true story, the book chronicles a young woman's heroic efforts to protect others.

During her visit at Canisius, Cameron discussed the importance of following your passion. Cameron didn’t always aspire to be a writer: she wanted to be a musician before sitting down one day and writing for 45 minutes. Four years later, she had written her first book. During her first writing session, she by chance heard a story about Stefania Podgórska, a Polish Catholic girl who left her impoverished, rural home to work in a shop owned by the Diamants, a Jewish family in Przemysl, Poland. Everything changed when the German army invaded Przemysl. The Diamants were forced out, and Stefania was left alone in an occupied city caring for Helena, her six-year-old sister.

And then, Cameron’s retelling goes, comes the knock at the door. Max Diamant has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max and eventually 12 more Jews. When the knock that means death finally comes, it was in the form of two Nazi officers requisitioning Stefania’s house for the German army. With two Nazis below, 13 hidden Jews above and Helena by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make. Cameron became so inspired by this story that she wrote a bestselling book about it. Sharon Cameron’s story and book discussion at Canisius tugged at the heartstrings.

Yearly, on Jan. 27, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and encourages educational programs to prevent future genocides. Those interested in Cameron’s captivating stories can check out her adult and young adult books for a riveting story and fantastic read.

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