I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

They were killed because they were what they were

By Esther Teillard  |   From : Marseille, France  |   School : Lycée Saint Charles

I am what I am.

Here is the story that I am supposed to tell you today, mine. My story is the result of many stories, those of my family. All these stories are a part of me, a part of the fact that I am what I am.


My name is Esther. My mom always told me that names are important, more important than people really think it is. I remember this sentence ‘Your name is Esther, be proud and worthy to have it.’

If there were a packaging label explaining what I am composed of, an ingredient would be present : curiosity.

Today, I want to share with you one of these stories. You would probably understand better why I am what I am : a curious girl called Esther.


Esther is a jewish name that symbolizes courage. Being a child I used to wonder why my name was related to religion knowing that my parents were totally atheistic. I wanted to find answers but the answers that were given to me were always unclear and fuzzy. I felt that a sensitive topic was hidden behind this simple question asked by a child ‘Why is my name Esther ?’. You know what happens when a child feel that he is not supposed to talk about something ? It becomes an obession.


I was nine when my mother taught me that I was jewish. First it didn’t affect me but when she told me that my great grand-parents had been killed because of this, it changed myself, it changed my way of seeing things. How could I understand what was not understandable ?

My great grand-parents, because they were what they were, had been killed. My grandfather because of his nationality, lost his parents when he was only seven years old.

I learned that my great grand-parents were Polish and moved to France in the hope to escape to this monstrous growing antisemetism. France, instead of protecting them, sent them to Auschwitz.


My grandfather told me that I made him think of my great grand-father because he was very curious too, he loved asking questions and always wanted to understand everything even if sometimes things are difficult to understand.

The past is the past, I cannot change it for sure. By contrast, I can change things in the future.

The past of my family, this past that is the result of the fact that I am what I am, drives me to make things progress and I will do my best for that, I promise you.

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