The “Legacy of Perseverance” was the theme of the 2018 Holocaust Remembrance Day and Fort Leonard Wood hosted a guest speaker whose story exemplified that theme April 11 at the Main Post Chapel.
Rachel Goldman Miller served as keynote speaker at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Observance, hosted by the Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Miller, who said she lost 93 family members during the Holocaust, said she spent much of her childhood “running” from the Nazi authorities.
Also, known as a “hidden child,” she and her family escaped from Poland and moved to Paris, France where she said she had a “happy childhood,” until Nazis invaded and annexed part of France.
Eventually, Miller ended up having to wear a yellow star which read “Juif,” French for Jew. After the death of her father and uncle, she was sent to live with farmers outside of Paris. Three days later her family members were taken into custody by the Germans and she never saw them again.
Miller escaped from custody numerous times, she said the farmer’s wife even considered turning her into the Germans for a reward of 300 Francs, but her aunt paid the farmer off and she went back to Paris to live with her.
Miller said she lived in constant fear.
Eventually she ended up in an orphanage until an American Soldier brought her to the United States. Once in the U.S. she lived in five foster homes until she married her husband in 1950.
The Chesterfield, Missouri, resident, has faced numerous challenges in her life including the death of her son and a battle with breast cancer.
Sgt. Maj. Joel Zecca, NCOA assistant commandant, said it was a privilege to hear Miller’s story of “perseverance,” and thanked her for visiting the installation.
“We are all so glad for you to be here today. You are an inspiration to us and all humanity,” Zecca said.