Dear Leo, We Will Miss You

Today, I found out that my dear friend Leo Bretholz passed away earlier this week, just two days after his 93rd birthday.

Many of my friends probably know that in my senior year of high school, I spent a week in Washington D.C. as part of the Holocaust Remembrance Project.

There, I met five inspiring Holocaust survivors and for the first time in my life, I truly internalized the Holocaust. It became something tangible and real for me because these were no longer just stories, but real people, amazing people, people that I called friends.

I write about the experience at length in this blog post, but I wanted to re-post Leo’s particular story, as well as a photo of the two of us. 

Thank you for reading.

During the group’s first dinner together, when we’re uneasily beginning to get to know one another, a survivor addresses the students. He asks us if we want to hear a joke, “A guy is in a restaurant and sees his waiter coming over with the hamburger he ordered, sticking his thumb right on top of it, so he exclaims, ‘Hey, why would you put your finger on my food like that?!’ The waiter answers, ‘I just didn’t want it to fall on the floor again.’” We laugh and the ice is broken.

This storyteller, we learn, escaped the Nazis seven times throughout the war. He crossed the Sauer River, crawled through a hole in barbed wire, outran policemen, and ultimately leaped transport No. 42*, a freight train heading to Auschwitz—all experiences documented in his book, Leap Into Darkness. Leo Bretholz lived with the most overpowering fear during the Holocaust, yet exudes a teenage boy’s zest for life.

Leo was 17 when his mother told him he had to flee his home alone to save his life. He describes how wrenching it was to agree, even as he realized his mother’s fears for their safety in Austria were legitimate. He stares directly at us and says, “Imagine yourself by my side, what would you have done? Identify, identify.” I think to myself, I am 17 now. Would I have fled?

His flight turned into seven years on the run. “We could never plan for tomorrow,” Leo says, stopping to look at us. “You know you’ll wake up tomorrow.” And it was true. That morning I had woken up in a comfortable, queen-sized D.C. hotel-room bed. I opened up my prayer book and began the morning service, without having to hide, run, or fear.

Afterwards I approach him and say, “I don’t think I could have done it.” He tells me that one emotion motivated him all along: fear. “Fear could either paralyze you or propel you to do the impossible, the unimaginable.”

While I consider this, he jokes about how lucky he is to talk to a beauty like me. I let out a long, sarcastic, “Riggghhhhtt,” but can’t help smiling. He’s done it again—putting the people around him at ease, making a difficult situation comfortable.

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[Here’s a photo of Leo and I, right after the exact conversation I just described above, where he tells me I’m beautiful. What a charmer!]

This Valentine’s Day card perfectly sums up our generation and modern love.
See the full list of Awkward Valentine’s Day Cards for Your Confusing Modern Relationship: http://t.co/kC0KKlehij

This Valentine’s Day card perfectly sums up our generation and modern love.

See the full list of Awkward Valentine’s Day Cards for Your Confusing Modern Relationship: http://t.co/kC0KKlehij

Happy to share my latest blog post here. It basically tackles how on earth we as marketers can create social content that people will actually want to read and share. I interviewed folks around my office at FleishmanHillard for insights and was pretty inspired. Enjoy!

I adore Beyonce on so many levels. Today, I am just amazed that she managed to pull off an album release with nearly no leaks and no pre-promotion. Plus, I am even more impressed that she dropped her new album as an actual ALBUM - fans are not able to download individual tracks for the first full week of release. A sign of a real artist.

"I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it…I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans."

So true. As one of my favorite music bloggers put it - “she out-Radioheaded Radiohead!”

I’m so impressed with all the news coming out of Spotify in the last couple of weeks. 
First they rolled out Analytics for their artists (along with concert listings within profiles and apparently merch offerings) and now they’ve revived their Browse tab (see photo above), which means they’re starting to act more like an editorial resource. 
I just started listening to their “Spotlight on 2014: Next Year’s Hottest Acts” and there are actually artists on this list that I have never heard of. Thank goodness this is not becoming a mainstream/Top 40 portal - hope it stays this way.

I’m so impressed with all the news coming out of Spotify in the last couple of weeks.

First they rolled out Analytics for their artists (along with concert listings within profiles and apparently merch offerings) and now they’ve revived their Browse tab (see photo above), which means they’re starting to act more like an editorial resource.

I just started listening to their “Spotlight on 2014: Next Year’s Hottest Acts” and there are actually artists on this list that I have never heard of. Thank goodness this is not becoming a mainstream/Top 40 portal - hope it stays this way.

The more I think about Google Helpout, the more I realize its strategic brilliance. Here’s my train of thought for the night…

1) Google takes one of its best assets (video, a la YouTube) to the next level

2) Google takes what it’s best known for (helping people find answers to their questions via search) to the next level

3) Google uses the technology it developed for Google Hangouts and expands on it further. So far, Hangouts seem to be primarily used in two ways 1) between friends and 2) by brands who want to broadcast stories to the world. Google Helpout seems to be a merging of the two - allowing brands to become “friends” and really talking to customers in a very special one-on-one way. It can potentially take on the one-on-one quality of customer service on Facebook and Twitter. (Note: we must remember there’s a paid component which might limit - however, Sephora seems to be opening up Helpouts for free)

My mind is racing with different ideas. So much possibility with this. I definitely feel that this is a tool that can not only make brands more human, but allow brands to do what they were supposed to do all along - actually help people solve a problem.

Sharing my two cents in real time. More to come as I absorb the information and do a bit more research.

Stumbled upon this great quote. So true.

Stumbled upon this great quote. So true.

Tags: misc life

Had such a blast tonight seeing a performance by Elizabeth and the Catapult as part of CMJ Music Festival. Elizabeth has got a powerhouse of a voice, plays some mean piano and has got a creative lyrical touch. I love that her music doesn’t fit into a specific genre - there’s a little bit of soul with a tang of country with elements of classical music. And lastly, these guys are having a great time on stage and it makes for such fun as an audience member!
Take a quick listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNJmRO4nyG8

Had such a blast tonight seeing a performance by Elizabeth and the Catapult as part of CMJ Music Festival. Elizabeth has got a powerhouse of a voice, plays some mean piano and has got a creative lyrical touch. I love that her music doesn’t fit into a specific genre - there’s a little bit of soul with a tang of country with elements of classical music. And lastly, these guys are having a great time on stage and it makes for such fun as an audience member!

Take a quick listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNJmRO4nyG8

Love it when artists get creative with how they share music. Justin Bieber releases album’s worth of music via Twitter http://bit.ly/15lRXRE.  
Have you seen any other artists experiment with the album form via social media?

Love it when artists get creative with how they share music. Justin Bieber releases album’s worth of music via Twitter

Have you seen any other artists experiment with the album form via social media?

It’s official - Instagram is planning to launch ads. They’re testing the waters and will be starting out with photo/video content from brands that already have a big presence on the platform. Definitely something to continue keeping a close eye on as this platform’s user base continues to grow (approx. 150 million users to date)