JOPLIN, Mo. —
Despite all the terrible things that happened to me as a child, my life today is full and rewarding,” she said.
Lazan keeps few mementos from that era, including the “ugly” yellow Star of David that she was forced to wear to identify herself as a Jew. Most of what she keeps and shares are memories, which are enough for those who come to listen.
“It really kind of touched me," said eighth-grader Imogen Eads, "because sometimes it’s really hard to comprehend the hardships, especially when we have such an easy life now."
As she traveled from New York to Southwest Missouri for this week's presentations, Lazan said she thought about the May 2011 tornado that destroyed one-third of the city and killed 161 people - and the difference between the uncontrollable terror of a storm and terror that is entirely man-made.
“There is nothing we can do against nature’s wrath and nature’s devastation," she said, "but how we as humans behave toward one another, that is up to us."
Emily Younker writes for the Joplin, Mo., Globe.