Nancy Sprowell Geise

Writer • Author • Speaker

Colorado Friends Join me March 20th 7 p.m. in Fort Collins!

I’m so excited to be returning to Fort Collins to share Joe Rubinstein’s story at the invitation of Colorado State University Morgan Library, Poudre River Public Library, Poudre River Friends of the Library, The Liggett Family Endowment, KUNC, Hilton Fort Collins, and Old Firehouse Books for their Evening with An Author Series.

Location: Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect Road. Seating is first-come, first-served basis. Free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.



Happy Birthday Sweet Irene!

Happy birthday Irene Rubinstein! Shortly after WW2, while living in Germany, Irene’s father overhead a young man standing on a street corner speaking with a Polish accent. Being from Poland originally himself, Irene’s father struck up a conversation. The young man was Holocaust survivor Joe Rubinstein. Irene’s father took an immediate liking to Joe and invited him over for dinner, saying, “Oh, and by the way, I have a beautiful daughter.” Well Joe and that beautiful daughter, Irene, have now been married over 71 years! Without Irene, Joe says he would be “6’feet under.” Instead, they are still together (Joe is 98) and today they celebrate Irene’s birthday. Happy birthday sweet and beautiful Irene! (To learn more about Joe and Irene’s remarkable love story, read Auschwitz #34207 - The Joe Rubinstein Story.

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Thank You Emporia State University!

I cannot express how impressed I am with Emporia State University (Emporia, Kansas) and their Union Activity Council! They invited me to share Joe Rubinstein’s story on Feb. 20, 2019, and it was a wonderful evening. This dynamic group of students and staff could not have been more enthusiastic, professional, talented and passionate in making the event possible and so memorable. I will never forget their warm welcome. The posters and marketing material they produced were beautiful. To the nearly 200 of you students, staff and community who came to hear Joe’s remarkable story of hope…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

A wonderful crew to help load books!

A wonderful crew to help load books!

So grateful to the Topeka & Shawnee Country Public Library!

Wow…Miranda Ericsson and the staff of the public library in Topeka, Kansas put together an amazing and powerful event on the date of the liberation of Auschwitz. Thank you Miranda and your staff for inviting me to share Joe Rubinstein’s Story with your library community. And a special thank you to Rabbi Debbie Stiel of the Temple Beth Shalom (Topeka, KS) for the wonderful and moving introduction!

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Holocaust Survivor Celebrates His 98th Birthday this Week! Happy Birthday Joe Rubinstein!

As you can see from this photo taken earlier this summer, Joe Rubinstein is doing great. He turned 98 on Monday! Joe survived the unimaginable to live a remarkable life filled with hope, faith and love. He is an inspiration to us all! I thank God for Joe! To learn more about how a man, taken from his home in Poland by the Nazis when he was 21, goes on to become one of the leading shoe designers in the world read: Auschwitz #34207 The Joe Rubinstein Story. And be sure to comment and share, wishing Joe the happiest of birthdays!

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Thank you Seaman High School!

Wow! Nearly 1,000 students from Seaman High (Topeka, Kansas) were in attendance this morning as I shared Holocaust survivor, Joe Rubinstein's story (Auschwitz #34207). What a tremendous group of students! They were all so incredibly gracious and courteous. I appreciated their insightful questions and feedback afterwards. Thank you Principal Mike Monaghan and teacher Susan Sittenauer for the wonderful invitation! I could not be any more impressed with you, your staff and your students!

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Thank you for the warm welcome Nacatee Community, Ponte Vedra, Florida!

A heartfelt thanks to the incredible staff and the over 200 residents of the Nacatee Community in Ponte Vedra, Florida who joined me last week to hear Joe Rubinstein's Story. I was so impressed with the efforts of so many to make this such a memorable evening. I especially want to thank David Ray - the Community Manager, Hannah Pickett - the Community Events Coordinator, and the staff who helped make this wonderful event possible. The residents of Nacatee are blessed to have such dedicated professionals. It was a true pleasure to meet so many residents afterwards and learn a little more about their lives. It was extra special to have my mom, Lucretia Sprowell, assisting me in the book signing after the presentation. She always makes life more fun!

 

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Some of the wonderful Nocatee staff...and my mom, Lucretia   

Some of the wonderful Nocatee staff...and my mom, Lucretia

 

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Sharing Joe's Story with the Guides of Auschwitz - An Honor of a Lifetime

On January 23, 2018, inside the #12 Barrack of Auschwitz, I had the honor of a lifetime to share the remarkable story of holocaust survivor, Joe Rubinstein, with several of the guides of the Auschwitz/Birkenau Memorial and Monument in Oświęcim, Poland. 76 years earlier, Joe, age 21, arrived at the concentration camp on April 30, 1942, where he would endure the unimaginable. He became, as he said, "An experienced prisoner. I knew how to live, and I knew how to die." After over two years at Auschwitz/Birkenau, Joe was sent to several other notorious camps, but not before learning that his entire family, including his identical twin, had been murdered by the Nazis at the Treblinka Death Camp. Joe has never been back to his homeland of Poland. I was grateful I could go on his behalf. Though he is 97 now, Joe's memories of Auschwitz are vivid. It was, as he said, "Hell." 

This was my second visit in six months to Auschwitz. While the heat of August was stifling, visiting in January was more telling. Even more than the starvation he endured, it was the cold that Joe said was the cruelest of punishments. As I stood in my winter coat, my hat and mittens inside one of the wooden barracks of Birkenau, identical to the one where Joe lived, I shivered against the biting air. I could not imagine how he, or anyone else, survived with no warm clothes and no insulation, sleeping in the mere shack designed to house livestock. It is beyond my ability to comprehend how anyone left there alive. Joe still cannot believe that he did.

There were tears on the faces of those who listened as I shared Joe's story with guides...faces of those special people who have devoted so much of their lives to touring the nearly 3 million visitors a year through the Museum and Memorial, and sharing with them about the precious lives lost there...and of those few, like Joe, who lived to tell theirs. I am profoundly grateful for everyone at Auschwitz, and the many people around the world, who work so hard to keep the memory of what happened during the dark and terrible days of the holocaust alive. We must never forget.

But, there were smiles, too, on the faces of the guides, knowing that for Joe at least, his story did not end at Auschwitz. Joe Rubinstein's story of triumph continues to this day, as he and his wife of over 70 years are spending a few weeks this cold winter, walking the beaches of Mexico, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the blessings of being alive.

To learn more about Joe's story check out: Auschwitz #34207 - The Joe Rubinstein Story.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Nancy Sprowell Geise © 2019. All Rights Reserved.