Donating My Holocaust Books to the Right Place

12 Jul


My husband and I are members of the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE) in Kansas. There is an important reason for our support. I was named for my great grandmother who was hidden during the Shoah and then murdered by the people who stole her property. In her memory I feel it is important to keep contact with Holocaust organizations.

Since MCHE started, I have attended a few events and made financial donations. This year, we were among those honored for our 20 years of support. But two years ago, I became a bit more involved. I started serving as a preliminary judge for its White Rose Essay Contest. Open to students in eighth through twelfth grade, it is held each year in the Kansas City area. Preliminary judges help to weed the multitude of admissions down to ten in each category 8th and 9th grade/ 10th – 12th grade.

I enjoy reading the essays. It is amazing what some of these students do under the guidance of their teachers. The students have to research a specific topic, which changes each year, using both internet sources and books, many of which are held in the MCHE library.

I look forward to the essay contest each year and being a part of this process. I learn the stories of survivors as I read these essays, which has helped to encourage me on my path to discovering more about my family.

I have a collection of Holocaust books, both non-fiction and fiction. I have way too many books to be honest. Even with a Kindle, I still cannot let go of books very easily. But this weekend I had an urge to purge my bookshelf of books I no longer read.   And a thought occurred.   I had read all these Holocaust books, some several times. Perhaps the MCHE could use them for the White Rose contest, as well as for other researchers.

With that goal in mind, after two days of sorting through my books, I found 17 I was willing to part with and which I thought could be used for research. These 17 non-fiction books pertaining to the Shoah only touch the surface of my collection. But for me it is a positive start.

I contacted MCHE and offered my books.   There were six the historian definitely wanted for the library. The books were already in the car waiting to go. As soon as I got the email, I sorted the books into two groups and took all of the books over.

When I entered the Center, the director said, “Were you waiting in your car for my email?”

I smiled. “The books were in the car,” I admitted.

I did arrive within an hour of getting her email. To be honest, I really wanted a good home for these books where they would be used and appreciated. I think I found that home.

But on the other hand, I was worried that I would go through the books again and change my mind. It is difficult for me to relinquish a book. I even emailed my daughter with a list of the books and asked her opinion.

“I am planning to donate the following. If you have a feeling for any of these books speak now,” I wrote her.

She responded with one word: Donate.

The books they did not want for their library they will offer for sale to their members. That would be fine with me, as the income would still go to MCHE.

However, as I spoke to the Director I suggested they review my books. All were in excellent shape. Perhaps they should replace the books on their shelves with my almost pristine copies? She agreed this was a great idea. It made me feel even better. Perhaps even more of my books would remain on the shelves of the library.

Whatever MCHE and its historian do with my books, I am glad. I am letting go. When I get my letter acknowledging the donation, I will think about those who will continue to read and use my books and know that I donated my books to the right place.


6 Responses to “Donating My Holocaust Books to the Right Place”

  1. Sherry July 12, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    Holocaust –yes. Finkelstein Library, NY, Jewish, Yiddish and Hebrew –yes, listen, speak. Spring Valley, NY. Very big. Thank you. Mm

    • zicharon July 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

      They take Holocaust books there as well? And have programs. That is good to know.

  2. Amy July 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    Good for you! I also have trouble giving away books, so I can understand why you didn’t want to have the books sit around too long once you’d made the decision to donate. What will you do with your non-Holocaust books?

    • zicharon July 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

      OMG. This is a major issue. My one salvation is I work at a school. Right now they need art books. I was actually looking at those when I gave up and started on the Holocaust books.

      • Amy July 13, 2016 at 8:17 am #

        Funny you used the word “salvation.” We ended up giving 100s of books to the Salvation Army. They were mostly books we had no emotional attachment to—textbooks, novels we hadn’t loved, out of date travel books, etc. I’m not sure what the Salvation Army did with them, but at least we felt that we hadn’t just thrown them away. Good luck!

      • zicharon July 13, 2016 at 8:21 am #

        I give the novels to a thrift store near my home:).

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