I'm Neil Heller and in a few moments you will hear my father's stories from the Shoah.
I recently celebrated my 45th birthday. Like each birthday that passes, there was never a question that I would reach this day. In fact, when I turned 20, times were good - I was completing my second year of college and I had an amazing girlfriend who made each day complete - there was never a question that I would be celebrating my 21st birthday.
My father recently celebrated his 87th birthday. If you were to ask him if he thought he would ever turn 87, he might likely answer that he never thought he would make it to 21.
But he did!
Having survived the Holocaust, my father arrived in New York as a 22 year old where his only possessions were the clothes on his back as well as the one thing the Nazis could not take away - the lessons from his parents and teachers. Ten years later, he enrolled as a 32-year-old freshman at MIT, to continue his education. Starting in the early 1960's, my Father spent his career educating children and teachers on how to make computers part of primary, secondary, and college education, including driving the construction of the first university Computer Science curricula.
Tonight, my youngest child, Nina, age 9, will hear her grandfather tell his story. Nina - listen carefully to each word your grandfather says, ask him questions, and make you sure you never forget what happened during the Holocaust. It is by remembering, we will never let it happen again.
Each generation teaches the next. It is a pleasure to sit with you and my children here tonight, as we learn how their grandfather survived because he never gave up hope
Please welcome my father, George Heller.