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Holocaust survivors share their Jewish recipes in new cookbook: "Food, it reminds you of your family"

Holocaust survivors keep Jewish recipes alive
Holocaust survivors create cookbook to share Jewish recipes, stories of perseverance 07:17

At 84-year-old Tova Friedman's house, three generations gather around a dining room table for Shabbat dinner. 

It is a dream that Friedman never imagined possible as a five-year-old in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, where 1.1 million people died. 

Friday marks 78 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.  

Eugene Ginter spent his first six years of life in the same extermination camp. The sights and sounds of genocide have left a permanent mark on both Friedman and Ginter. 

After liberation in 1945, Friedman and Ginter settled in the United States and have been building their lives through the families they've created. 

They are also passing on traditions to new generations by having their Jewish recipes featured in the new cookbook, "Honey Cake & Latkes: Recipes from the Old World." 

The two first met while working on the book, which pairs more than 100 Holocaust survivors' stories and features their family recipes. 

"Food, it reminds you of your family and the love, like the cheesecake or the babka that my mother would make. You know, it brings back the memories of the love that she was transferring," Ginter said.  

Among the recipes is Ginter's mother's "chocolate sandwich" which his mother made for him to help him gain weight after liberation. Friedman's kasha varnishkes are also featured.  

First-hand accounts of Auschwitz are becoming rare as the years go by and survivors grow older. Friedman and Ginter know their stories will soon fade but their hope is that the lessons learned from such an atrocity will not.  

"My story can be duplicated by a million and a half children who were murdered. I was just lucky. I feel almost obligated to talk about them. It's like I am bringing them back from their ashes because I represent them," Friedman said.  

The book was published last September by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation. All proceeds go directly to the foundation.  

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