The Grey Striped Shirt is dedicated to Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives and created new families after suffering unbearable loss and hardship. Their courage is an inspiration to me. I have been through some tough times in my life. Everyone experiences hardship, disappointment, and loss sometime in their lives. Learning about individuals who lost everything, but still managed to go on and have a meaningful, productive life after the war shows us that we, too, can go on after loss. The Grey Striped Shirt was published in 1995, six months after my first husband died. At the time, I was a widow with two young sons. And I was very sad. But my oldest son said something to me that helped me build a new life for myself. He said, "Mom. Think about the people in your book. They went on with their lives. They had courage. You can, too." I have since re-married, and like Grandma Trudie and Grandpa Herman, I have a new life that makes me very happy.
Learning about the Holocaust has taught me many things. I am much more aware of injustice and suffering all over the world than I used to be. It has also made me appreciate the diversity and democracy we enjoy in America. Tolerance for all races, cultures, and beliefs is the keystone of freedom. Whenever we say that one group is better than another, we pave the way for injustice. May our knowledge of what happened in the Holocaust make us always mindful of the dignity and rights of every human being.