Seen on Sunday morning: May 4th

May 4, 2008 10:44:31 AM PDT

As Holocaust Remembrance Day just passed, it's a time to commemorate and reflect upon one of the most horrific periods in world history.

Joining us this morning is holocaust survivor Roman Kent and Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish foundation for the righteous.

Roman, you survived the Auschwitz Death Camp...?
I was a teenager when I was sent to the Auschwitz with my mother, two sisters and brother. We were packed onto freight trains and sent to the most unimaginably horrific place. We worked all day and well into the night and just prayed we would make it to the next day. To this day, I don't understand how human beings can be so hateful of others. I've written a book about my experience "Courage Was My Only Option". It will be published this summer.

Why did you decide to devote your life to Holocaust education?
Education is the only way to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to ensure history does not repeat itself. Survivors are aging, and there will come a day when there will be no first person accounts of what occurred. The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous runs programs for high school teachers worldwide, to help them approach the topic in the classroom and make Holocaust education a priority. Thousands of teachers have participated in JFR programs. It's the only way to make sure the next generation knows and understands what happened to us.

Stanlee, you've been heading-up the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous for over 15 years, tell us about the education programs you run?
JFR has a dual purpose. We provide financial assistance to non-Jews who risked their lives and often the lives of their families to rescue Jews during the holocaust. We also run teacher education programs for middle and high school teachers to so they can make the holocaust understandable and meaningful to young people. New York State is one of the few states that mandate holocaust education in the classroom - but if the holocaust isn't presented to kids in a meaningful way - the message will be lost.

So how do you teach teens about the Holocaust - how do you make it tangible?
We created practical and tangible books, booklets - even a highly visual poster series that teachers can use to explain the Holocaust to kids. We also developed materials to help them teach teens about the rescuers. It's important to teach that in the face of evil there were people who stood up and helped save others at incredible risk to themselves. provides information and resources on Holocaust education. JFR can be contacted at 212-727-9955.


Mother's Day is right around the corner, and if you still haven't found that perfect gift for your mom, we have some ideas.

Joining us this morning is ABC News radio technology producer, Andrea Smith.

Kodak EasyShare
- Wi-Fi enabled
- Automatically receive pictures from Gallery members right on your frame with the Picture Mail feature
- Play MP3s with the built-in speakers
- 128MB of built-in memory, plus slots for virtually all memory card types, as well as USB connectivity for computers
- $149

PanTouch Digital Photo Frame
- Smudge-free touch screen interface, with icons that give you control and access to digital photos, MP3s, and video clips.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible, enabling users to transfer photos to the digital frame via a Wi-Fi connection or to sync the frame with a Bluetooth-enabled phone.
- models 6-in-1 memory card readers, standard and mini USB 2.0 ports, clock, calendar, alarm clock functions, and a slick "page turn" effect that enables you to view photos by swiping the display with your finger.
- $169.99

Memorex Floral Digital Photo Frame - Stylish Floral Design
- seven-inch widescreen LCD display for viewing JPEG photos in 480x234 screen resolution.
- mini USB port and cable, AC adapter, and a 4-in-1 memory card slot that supports most of today's popular memory card formats.
- $89.99

Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd digital camera
- A new 'Dual Blog Mode' that automatically resizes any still image or movie you've captured, letting you post pictures and videos to blogs, video-sharing websites like YouTube, or e-mail to friends with ease.
- A new Successive Movie Mode that allows for in-camera editing for the creation of a movie clips.
- Face Detection Technology with Automatic Red Eye Removal that identifies up to 10 human faces in a scene and sets the correct focus for a chosen primary face and exposure for all detected faces automatically, regardless of where subjects are located within the frame.
- Available in hot pink, jet black, wasabi green and ice blue.
- $199.95.

Sony Reader Digital Book
-Holds about 160 eBooks or hundreds more with optional removable memory cards.
-6 inch display, weights 9 ounces, 1/3 inches thin.
-Available in Silver and Dark Blue for about $300.

iPod Touch
- Moms are turning to the touch for on-the-go entertainment, downloading music and movies for when they get a few minutes to breathe, or to
- Keep kids entertained while running errands. With the iPod touch you can play music, watch a video, surf the internet, browse your music in coverflow, watch a movie or TV show on the 3.5 inch widescreen display, and because it has wi-fi built in, you can buy songs or movies from the iTunes store wherever you are.
free engraving, free shipping 32 GB $499, 16 GB $369

Mobile Edge Laptop Bags:

The Monaco
- $99
- The new Monaco notebook bags from Mobile Edge is the perfect blend of contemporary styling and real-world functionality.
- The elegant quilted MicroFiber exterior and rich poly-suede interior gives the Monaco the look and feel of a designer handbag.
- This designer styling is combined with a functional interior layout that features individual sections for files, accessories, cables, magazines plus a separate padded computer compartment to securely cradle your notebook.
- The Monaco also features our exclusive Wireless Security Shield? pocket that will insulate your cell phone or PDA from malicious hackers, viruses and spam. A coordinated detachable exterior cell phone pouch provides quick access to your phone.
- Finally, you'll find ahandy removable matching wallet, just the right size for your personal items.

The Signature Tote
- $99

Susan Komen Milano
- $99
Mobile Edge will contribute 10% of the retail price from this case to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
- Fits 15.4" computers
- Dedicated Padded Computer Compartment
- Separate Sections for Files, Papers and Accessories
- Coordinated Detachable Cell Phone Pouch
- Removable Matching Wallet
- Exclusive Wireless Security Pocket foils hackers, spam and viruses

For more information, go to


Two women brought together in a very strange way through a secret diary, now for all the world to see.

Joining us this morning is Lily Koppel, the author of "The Red Leather Diary" and Florence Howitt, the inspiration behind it all.

The book was written by Florence as a teenager in the 1930s. For more than half a century, the red leather diary lay silent, languishing inside a steamer trunk, its worn cover crumbling into little flakes. Rescued from a dumpster on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a discarded diary brings to life the glamorous, forgotten world of an extraordinary young woman.

How did you find the diary?

LILY: Little could I have imagined that a dumpster, which I encountered outside of my New York City apartment building, would be a vehicle for time travel. It was like Back to the Future. Imagine. I had just moved to New York from Chicago. Like the beginning of so many films: Girl moves to New York.

I had just landed a job at The New York Times, working as a celebrity writer, covering the red carpet events, which until now had existed for me only on TV. Nightly traipsing from movie premiere to party to after-party interviewing hundreds of boldface names was the job: Angelina Jolie, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton. The only problem was-I wanted to be a star.

One morning, late for work, I came out of my apartment to discover a dumpster filled with old steamer trunks, the kind taken on ocean liners across the Atlantic. If you've seen Titanic, you know what I'm talking about.

Unhesitatingly, I climbed up and into my own movie. Despite being dressed for work, I grasped the grimy edge of the dumpster and climbed up in my ballet flats. Each chest was plastered with vintage travel labels from faraway destinations: Paris, London, Rome, Monaco, one from "The Anne Frank Diary Hotel in Amsterdam." It was like finding a message in a bottle.

I balanced on top of this urban shipwreck going through the treasure chests. I salvaged a flapper dress, which fit perfectly, like Cinderella's glass slipper, a black satin bathing costume and a collection of beaded evening bags.

At nightfall, under the orange glow of lamplight, amid the chaos, a red leather diary was found.

Was it locked? Was there any indication of its owner?

I brought the diary up to my room. Despite the worn book's rusted brass latch, it was unlocked. I slid under the covers and began reading. Little pieces of red leather crumbled onto my bedspread like misshapen hearts.

"This book belongs to... Florence Wolfson" was the only clue to its owner, along with a faded newspaper clipping that floated out of the diary's pages. A girl with waved blond hair and soulful, intelligent eyes. Mysteriously, we looked alike.

Not a single day was skipped in the diary's five years from 1929 to 1934 when Florence was between 14 and 19 years old.

But she was so precocious for her age and era. The Red Leather Diary reads more like Sex in The City of the'30s!

What was it about the Florence who you read about in the diary's pages that jumped out at you?

At 22, I wanted to be a writer. I was searching for love, someone to understand me, and meaning in my life. The diary's nearly 2,000 entries painted a portrait of a teenager obsessed with her appearance and the meaning of her existence. Florence's life was one of life of theater, art, salons, writers and poets. She had an obsession with a famous avant-garde actress.

As I read the diary, I fell down the rabbit hole into Florence's life. The red leather diary was a portal into the past. A glamorous forgotten world came to life before my eyes. Her father was a prominent physician who had his practice in the family's Upper East Side apartment. Her mother was a couture dressmaker and she was always outfitted in the most gorgeous clothes, like her velvet coat with a fox fur collar.

This diary has changed lives. For Lily, you've written your first book. Florence, The Red Leather Diary must have been a virtual fountain of youth. What did it feel like getting back this book and reencountering your 16-year-old self at 90 years old?

FLORENCE: From no expectations to being written about in a book? It's brought back my life. It came at a time I really needed it. My husband of 67 years, Nat, had died recently at 96.

LILY: Nat was one of Florence's many admirers from her diary days, who she met when she was 13 at his parents' Catskills hotel. Think Dirty Dancing in the '30s. In the diary, Florence wrote about their first kiss.

This book reads like Titanic. Florence! You had a love affair with an Italian count when you sailed to Europe in 1936?

FLORENCE: Oh, Filippo, he was gorgeous. A movie star. All of my granddaughters are in love with him. They stole the pictures of him he sent me.

LILY: He was so hot! Filippo was a poet and pilot, who wrote verses to Florence that were later published in a book of love poems. He looks like Antonio Banderas.

For more information, go to


It's been three years since we first brought you the story of our friend and co-worker Tommy Gorey.

He once weighed 360 pounds, but through following a strict diet and gastric bypass surgery, Tommy has found success. He joins us once again this morning.


The Tony award-winning musical on Broadway, "Spamalot" is ripped off from the classic film comedy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

It has everything you remember from the movie, King Author's quest for the grail, killer rabbits, cows and French people.

Joining us this morning is Hannah Waddingham, the lady of the lake.

- Hannah is making her Broadway debut in Spamalot, though she's a veteran of London's West End and rec'd an Olivier Award Nomination for her performance there (that's like a Tony nomination).

- Spamalot and Monty Python are British by birth - and yet it's a hit in New York, Las Vegas and on tour.

- It's commonly thought that women drive ticket sales to Broadway shows, especially musicals. Spamalot seems to be a show that men really like - and women like it as well.

- May 4 is Clay Aiken's final performance with the show.