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May 25, 2022 1:30 pm
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Memoir by Auschwitz Survivor, TikTok Sensation #2 on NYT Best Sellers List

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Lily Ebert and her grandson Dov Forman. Photo: Matti Zoman/Wikimedia Commons.

A memoir co-authored by Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp survivor Lily Ebert and her great-grandson is number two this week on The New York Times best sellers list for paperback non-fiction.

Lily’s Promise: Holding On to Hope Through Auschwitz and Beyond―A Story for All Generations” was published in the United States by HarperOne on May 10, a year after it was released in the United Kingdom. The date of the book’s US publication holds particular significance, as exactly 89 years prior, on May 10, 1933, Nazi supporters publicly burned roughly 25,000 Jewish books in Berlin.

Ebert, 98, became a TikTok star last year after she began making videos to educate the public about the Holocaust. Her account, which her 18-year-old grandson Dov Forman helps run, currently has 1.9 million followers.

In her memoir, which includes a foreword by Prince Charles, Ebert chronicles her joyous childhood in Bonyhád, Hungary; the death of her mother and two youngest siblings upon their arrival at Auschwitz; and her determination to keep herself and her two surviving sisters alive. Following the Holocaust, Ebert started her life anew, first in Israel and then in London, where she currently lives.

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The book’s title refers to the promise Ebert made to herself to fight and stay alive while being held as a prisoner at Auschwitz.

“Though Lily saw and experienced inhumanity at its lowest ebb, her reaction was not one of bitterness or cynicism, but of hope and compassion,” Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK and the Commonwealth, said in his praise of Ebert and her book. “Lily has dedicated her life to sharing her astonishing story so that the world would never again descend into such depths. Yet ‘Lily’s Promise’ is only half of the battle. It falls to us to heed her words and internalize and learn from them. This book calls every reader to action. Lily’s message of hope over despair is more necessary today than it has ever been.”

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