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Why We Do What We Do

“These workshops have been extremely helpful to our organization. I’m grateful to Jill and Safekeeping Stories for helping the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center continue its mission.”.
—Millie Jasper, Executive Director, Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center
The Safekeeping Stories Program is of tremendous value to the participants and their families. Prior to this program, the remembrances of my father’s family was a collection of pictures, documents, video recordings and extensive verbal recollections. The carefully designed writing assignments, excellent teaching by Ellen Kaidanow and class interactions enabled me to craft this large collection of information into a flowing narrative that brought my ancestors to life and into historical perspective.
—Howard Reissner
The combination of Safekeeping Stories as a remarkable “how to guide” and Ellen Kaidanow’s talent and commitment to the process is an experience for which I will always be grateful. It produced, in spite of my consternation, a personal written story that was liberating and fulfilling. My deepest gratitude for Ellen’s support, encouragement, and guidance, which was always delivered with the warmest smile.
—Lee Najman
Writing my mother’s and grandmother’s Holocaust story has been a meaningful journey for me. When I first heard about the Safekeeping Stories class, I was excited to take on this project but hesitant since I didn’t think I had enough information to write about. I was also concerned because I didn’t have a writing background. None of that proved to be an obstacle. The writing took place weekly in small, manageable pieces, or slices as Jill refers to them. She really helped me to flesh out the story and write it in my own voice. I’m grateful for her thoughtful feedback and guidance throughout the workshop, helping me turn a project that felt insurmountable a year ago, into a tangible, family keepsake.
—Janine Marlowe
“My parents were both Holocaust survivors. During their Spielberg Shoah interview, my parents separately voiced their fervent desire that no one ever forget what the Nazis did to them, their families and their communities. With Jill’s unwavering guidance and support, I was able to preserve my parents’ story. I’m thankful to Safekeeping Stories for allowing me to do my part in the mission to ensure the world never forgets what my parents survived.”
—Sam Rosmarin
“Participating in the Safekeeping Stories Workshop has been one of the most meaningful, formative experiences I have ever had. Through writing and sharing my father’s Holocaust story, I learned that it is also my story and that it continually affects my family’s actions and responses. Jill offers her expertise in motivating and editing, with thoughtful encouragement, enthusiasm, caring, and patience.”
—Audrey Unger Reich
“Taking the Safekeeping Stories class was a life altering experience for me. Through Jill Sarkozi’s thoughtful and caring tutelage I was able to bring my family’s story to light. As a direct result of completing the workshop, I have now embarked on a path of dedicated Holocaust education which includes; telling my parent’s story in schools, synagogues and civic groups, as well as continuing to write more family stories.”
—Michael Gyory
“I can’t thank you enough for all I’ve gotten from the Safekeeping Stories Workshop experience. It provided just the right combination of structure, encouragement, gentle coaching and opportunities to share with our group. These are meaningful family stories that could have stopped with me, but now they have been preserved for my children and future generations.”
—Dr. Robert Stark
“THANK YOU for ALL you have done to help me save my family’s story — your Workshop was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! Not only do I have our story saved for my children, but I have learned about myself, and I will take that learning with me into my life going forward.”
—Ellen Kaidanow
“Thank you for helping me tell my mother’s story, and mine. Through the practice of Storykeeping and your compassion, from little Slice to the next, I was able to first write and then tell these stories. This experience has changed my life forever!”
—Kathy Zaltas
“I am very grateful to Jill Sarkozi for developing the framework and providing the tools to help me write and preserve my dad’s story. Safekeeping Stories enabled me to better understand my dad’s life experiences and the dilemmas he faced. I am thankful to have a living document that will ensure my dad’s history will never be forgotten.”
—Dennis Schoen
“I am enormously grateful to Jill for encouraging me with her inimitable warmth, commitment and unconditional support to craft the story of my family’s life in Europe and odyssey leaving in wartime to freedom.

Jill’s training to look through my own lens via focusing activities helped me to realize my own strengths…A Safekeeping Stories workshop supports the destination and validates who you become along the way!”
—Sandra Mehl
“Participating in the Safekeeping Stories Workshop with Jill Sarkozi was a gift to myself and my family. Jill helped me clear out the “block” and delve in to my family history and get it on paper — or rather in a Google doc.

In writing it down and working at it for the weeks of the workshop, I came out with a gift to my children and future generations.

The telling of the Holocaust will seem like just a history lesson unless the stories of the real people are told. Thank you Safekeeping Stories for helping me get both of my parents stories out and down for posterity”
—Anita Greenwald
The Safekeeping Stories workshop program was life changing for me. It allowed me to replace my fear of knowing my Dad’s painful story with a newfound understanding, appreciation, and love for my Dad.
—Ellen Bachner Greenberg
“I joined a Second Generation group because I wanted to tell the story of my family during the Holocaust. But how to tell it? There were so many facts and dates and historical events, and so much to tell. Where should I begin, what to include and what to leave out?

It is because of Jill’s teaching, guidance and support that I have fulfilled my desire to tell my family’s story and teach people about the Holocaust.

Since graduating from the workshop I have had several very successful and impactful speaking engagements.”
—Dr. Joan Solomon
Debby Ziering is an insightful, kind and encouraging facilitator. Through the open and accepting environment she created, I was able to delve more deeply into my family’s story and see more clearly the precious legacy they have left – not only the pain and horror. Prior to attending this program, I had not realized the extent to which their resilience, courage, strength of character and, ultimately, optimism has informed my life.

The workshop guidelines, prompts and technical tips Debby shared were both helpful and often inspiring. I am most grateful for this precious experience and the opportunity to formulate a cohesive story to share with family and friends.
—Judith Lachmanowitz Hara
I have always had a great deal of anxiety about approaching my parents’ stories of their experiences during the Shoah. I was only able to overcome this due to Jill Sarkozi’s
encouragement, guidance and gentle discipline. The focused freeform jotting, brief slices and the insightful feedback from Jill made this do-able – something to look forward to (rather than dread). Working with Jill on this project was a gift to myself and my family.
—Rikki Kaplan
The Safekeeping stories program provided the structure that enabled me to write my family story. The program breaks the process into doable chunks, so that the story emerges bit by bit over time. The staff and my fellow story writers provided invaluable feedback that helped me express myself more clearly and with more emotion. Writing Holocaust family history is emotionally difficult, and the Safekeeping stories staff recognizes and addresses that reality through readings, videos and the writing process itself.
—Ann Rolett
I am beyond grateful for the guidance, encouragement and warm support that Jill Sarkozi provided during two Safekeeping Stories Workshops that I attended. During the first workshop Jill gave me the tools to explore family traits and values that gave me the courage to present my mother’s story to audiences. I took the second timer workshop with the idea of telling my father’s story but it turned out to be so much more. In the crafting of his story I find that I am finally free to discover my own voice. I would not have been able to make so much personal progress if it hadn’t been for the safe space that Jill created and the faith that she had in us. My fellow classmates couldn’t have been more caring and we were able to really hear and understand and support one another.
Thank you!!
—Shelley Greenspan
There are people and experiences we have that transform our lives. Safekeeping Stories workshops with Jill Sarkozi have given me the strength and support to write about my mother’s Holocaust experience. Her workshops provided excellent writing expertise with tools for discovering historical information. Jill is a great coach who helped sharpen my writing while nurturing and helping me understand the personal trauma I experienced as a child of Holocaust survivors. Although 2021 Workshops were all conducted on Zoom, Jill’s intelligent and sensitive guidance allowed for a safe haven and a deep affinity for all group members. Thank you, Jill.
—Gloria Strauss
Debbie Ziering was a very supportive teacher in helping me focus on what was important in writing my mother’s story. I am forever grateful that future generations within my family and beyond will know my mother’s story, learn from her experiences, and never forget this period in history.
—Ruth Sininsky
Ellen Kaidanow’s leadership, providing a framework to guide me through the process of using and teaching the tools of Safekeeping Stories is a gift. I found the result cathartic and I now have a product I had not imagined could be produced. I thank Ellen and Safekeeping Stories.
—Peter Lilienthal
As a child of survivors it has been a goal of mine for sometime to document my parents legacy. With the non-stop encouragement and gentle guidance by Debby Ziering I was able to focus on key aspects of their journey and preserve them for posterity.
—Ronald Gurman
Ellen Kaidanow was the most empathic and supportive moderator for this life-changing experience. She is an astute and active listener who is thoughtful and perceptive, helping to draw out even the most reluctant participants. Ellen ushered us through an incredibly intense experience with grace and humility and injected kindness and compassion throughout the process. She allowed us to delve deeply into a sea of painful family memories in a dignified way that empowered each of us. I am grateful to Ellen for her cheerful smile, generosity of spirit, and calming demeanor that served as a source of great comfort during a challenging time. Many thanks to Ellen and to Jill for this extraordinary experience.
—Talia Swartz
When I found out about the Safekeeping Stories Workshop, I viewed it as my opportunity to finally create a chronicle of my personal heritage. The process of putting together my story was meaningful and rewarding. My workshop cohort provided so much support, encouragement and positive feedback.
—William Zimmerman