What is the Value of One Life?
July 30, 2021
TUPELO, Miss. — American Family Association (AFA, afa.net) is proud to announce the July 1st release of a new book, Priceless Pennies: Rose and Odette – Unknown Children of the Holocaust. The book tells the story of two of the 1.5 million children who were murdered during the Holocaust simply for being Jewish. These sisters, Rose and Odette Aboulafia, captured the heart of AFA staff writer Joy Lucius, then consequently the rest of American Family Association.
After interviewing the president of Unknown Child Foundation, Lucius began doing additional research for an article in AFA Journal. “I searched ‘Children of the Holocaust,’ and one of the first photos to pop up was these two dark-haired, dark-eyed French girls, Rose and Odette Aboulafia, sisters murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.” Lucius printed the picture and tucked it away in her purse.
“I heard that quiet, still Voice speak to me: ‘Maybe you should write this story, Joy.’ I laughed as I compiled a mental list of excuses: So many books already exist. I’m a Christian, not a Jew. How can I tell this sacred story? I’m not a good enough writer…. But God had a plan.”
To complete her article, Lucius and her sister Lisa took a guided tour of the Unknown Child Memorial in Hernando, Mississippi. Afterward, it was discovered that the exhibit’s soundtrack had not been playing its usual solemn recitation of names of children killed in the Holocaust.
“The tour guide retrieved a small recorder and turned it on: ‘Rose Aboulafia, 1932 to 1944; Odette Aboulafia, 1936 to 1944…’ I immediately recognized the names –– the girls in my photo! It was a clear sign from God. Right then, I knew I had to write this book.”
Priceless Pennies: Rose and Odette—Unknown Children of the Holocaust is the resulting story of Rose and Odette Aboulafia, two very real young Jewish sisters from Paris, France, who were murdered during the Holocaust. Gassed in the showers of Auschwitz, their remains were discarded and their lives forgotten—until now.
In the novel, the tragic reality of the Aboulafia sisters is tied to the fictional Austin family who mirror Lucius’ own journey of discovery, including finding undocumented survivors of the Aboulafia family. Tori and Tilly Austin, fictional sisters in a small southern town, discover and unravel the story of the Aboulafia family almost 80 years later when Tori’s school project on the Holocaust launches an adventure that brings life-altering changes to both the Austin and Aboulafia families.
Leadership at AFA believes the story of Rose and Odette must be told in hopes that the world never repeats the horrors of the Holocaust. These girls have a message, and Lucius is their messenger: “These two little French girls were so important to God that He miraculously introduced them to a retired Mississippi schoolteacher, a grandmother who lives a world and a lifetime away. Rose and Odette mattered to God, they matter to me, and I pray they will matter to you.”
Joy Lucius is first and foremost a reader, then a writer. She began her professional writing career as a freelance journalist and is now a full-time writer for AFA Journal, taking her love of reading in a whole new direction. A retired schoolteacher of 23 years, Lucius is happily married to Randy, her high school sweetheart. They have two grown sons, Jacob and Chris, and four grandchildren. Follow Joy Lucius at AFA’s The Stand. Read more of the Rose and Odette story in three special AFA Journal features. Books can be ordered from theAFA Resource Center.
For over 40 years, AFA has operated within the mission to inform, equip and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission. Find AFA Action Alerts here.
AFA—founded in 1977—has long been on the front lines of America’s culture war. Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country, with nearly a million online supporters and approximately 160,000 subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry’s monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 180 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio banner.
To interview an American Family Association spokesperson, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.