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The Vow: A Love Story and The Holocaust

Fascinating People Fascinating Places

Daniel Mainwaring

Documentary, Society & Culture:documentary, Society & Culture, History

51.1K Ratings

🗓️ 14 July 2023

⏱️ 32 minutes

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Author Michael Ruskin’s powerful new book “The Vow: A Love Story and The Holocaust,” tells the heart-breaking yet inspirational story of his own family’s experiences during the Holocaust. His Parents David and Dora Ruskin lived in Lithuania at the outbreak of World War II. Initially, the area fell under Soviet control as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. However, Hitler soon broke that agreement and sent Nazi storm troopers into Lithuania. Like countless other Jews living in Europe, the Ruskins were forced into ghettos before eventually being deported to concentration camps. In this episode I talk to Michael about his book and his parents vow, that they were remarkably able to honor after the ravages of World War II and the Holocaust. The book features rare archive footage including letters of his parents, family photos, and rare archival pictures and information from both Israel and the US. You can purchase a copy of Michael’s book through his official website: TheVowaLoveStory.com Music: Ken Bakodesh Haziticha, A Jewish Hasidic Niggun, sung by the Li-Ron choir, Israel. Public Domain. BBC recording from April 20, 1945, of Jewish survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp five days after their liberation. Public Domain

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On the eve of World War II there were between 150 and 210,000 Jewish people living in the independent Baltic state of Lithuania. By the end of the war, or more specifically the end of the Holocaust, up to 95% of these


men, women and children had been systematically murdered. Meaning per capita, the Jewish community of


Lithuania suffered heavier losses than almost any other country. In his new book The Vow, The Love Story and the Holocaust,


author Michael Ruskin tells the tale of two of these survivors, David and Dora Ruskin, his parents. I recently had the opportunity


to talk to Michael about his parents story and his heart-wrenching yet inspirational book. For most of


Michael's life he knew very little about the details of his parents experience


during the Holocaust and it was only after his father


father passed away that the full extent of their harrowing story


came to light.


I'm the only native born in my family tree. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and all my relatives and my family were born in Europe outside of my brother who was born in Munich, Germany in 1946. My parents had retired to Miami and in


93 my father took ill and he passed away. So my brother and I flew down to Florida to the funeral


and then make arrangements what we're going to do


with their condominium.


And we both decided that we were going to sell the condo.


And then one night, late September, I drove over to their condo and I started arranging


the clothes and taking things out of the condominium, when I came upon a document in my father's night table, it was a document that was written by lawyers and doctors who were writing testimony to the German courts in Munich, Germany in 1964.


For reparations, my parents were petitioning the courts for the loss of their daughter and the loss of their families, both on my mother and father side.


In fact, I'm personally the last surviving member of my family.


When I found these documents that night,


I was reading through things I never knew about.


Their physical condition, their emotional condition,


condition, situations that happened to them in the Kofna


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