FIU professor meets with Holocaust survivor

Naphtali Rosenberg / Contributing Writer

Ada Monserrat, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has made it a personal ritual to visit a piece of history every single school break. Monserrat has visited a myriad of historical landmarks, and interviewed historical figures such as Stephen Hawking.

This winter break she continued her historical ventures to interview a lady by the name of Hannah Goslar. Goslar was Anne Frank’s childhood best-friend, and is her last surviving friend. According to Monserrat the interview was an absolutely inspiring.

Anne Frank was one of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust at age 16. In her short time she chronicled her experiences in a diary which has become the most famous memoir of all time.

Professor Monserrat got a chance to interview and converse with a living breathing character of the story, who lived an inspiring journey of her own.

“When I read the story of Anne Frank it really moved me,” Monserrat said.

She described her previous visit of Anne Frank’s “secret-annex” and she found it “so inspirational that someone in a moment like this wrote about it and was able to bring the best out of it.”

“That’s when I later started researching who was alive, who knew Anne frank, and that’s how I found (Goslar),” said Monserrat.

Monserrat explained, “I was basically writing back and forth with a journalist after reading an article in the Jerusalem-Post. We wrote back and forth until finally she granted me the interview, and I flew over there.”

She met Goslar in Jerusalem and describes her as a “very nice woman.”

They were able to speak about many things like her personal survival story, and of course her friendship with Anne Frank. She showed her pictures of her and Anne as young girls among many other memories.

According to Monserrat, Gosler described Frank as a “Very outgoing girl, very outgoing. Always riding a bike and very happy and active.”

Goslar, nearly 90 years old, is still a very busy woman. She is an author and a renowned public speaker who relays her very own experiences in the Holocaust to promote peace and awareness.

Professor Monserrat describes a story from Gosler that gives a small glimpse of what the victims went through.

“She described her last meeting with Anne where she was throwing food over a fence that separated them.”

They were in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where Anne Frank would pass away at 16, just a few days later.

Monserrat retold Gosler’s account of the event, mentioning, “You weren’t allowed near the fence or you would be shot and she risked this.”

Hannah Goslar repeatedly risked her life to help her fellow victims in need.

Professor Monserrat recommends for students who are interested in in these type of experiences to read up on history.

“I read a lot of history and about important events, I want to learn about them and then travel over there.”

For example, her meeting with Hannah. “I researched and then wrote back and forth, It takes a while but then I make it happen. You just have to research.”

On her students, “I encourage them to follow, to learn about the things that interest them and to research it.”

[image from flickr]

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