South Florida Kid Uses Lemonade Stand To Share Family’s Holocaust Legacy

COOPER CITY (CBS4) — At just ten-years old, Harris Ness from Cooper City created a business plan to help keep his family’s memories alive. It’s a lemonade stand where with every cup he fills up, he shares a family story.

“Our grandfather passed away and he was a survivor of the Holocaust, so I wanted to give fifty percent of the money to the Holocaust Museum” the enthusiastic 5th grader explained to CBS4’s Nicole Maristany while preparing his lemonade.

Harris’ great aunt, Lena Russo, is also Holocaust survivor. She agrees with her young nephew and wants to be sure the stories of survivors are continued to be told.

“I can’t forget the things I lost but I have to, I have to go on,” Lena tearfully explained.

She goes on for the loved ones lost and those who remain.

Lena shared her pride for her nephew’s charitable spirit and hope for the future, saying, “I’m glad people like my children, like Harris, [are] working to helping the Holocaust Museum, that they should not be forgotten. Never, never, to not only [the] Jewish but all kinds of nations and kinds of people.”

Lena was one of forty five family members from her tiny Greek town taken to concentration camps by the Nazis.

“We heard about the war, but we never believed that they would come up there and take us, and they did,” said Lena.

She boarded a train and began her long journey to Auschwitz and to the unknown.

“They shaved our hair, took all our clothes, we were naked like when you are born. I said to myself, why are they doing this to us? What did we do wrong? Just because we were born Jewish?”

Separated from her family, working long days and sleeping in a barrack with dozens of other young women, Lena said there is not much that separates her fate from those left to perish and credits her voice as what carried her through to liberation.

Lena often sang songs to lift her spirits and to lift the spirits of those around her. Her singing echoed throughout the camp and reached the ear’s of a Polish prisoner of war who made a promise that would keep her alive.

“If you sing one song to us every day we will take care of you, that’s how I survived, by singing,” Lena explained.

For nine years after the war, Lena searched for family in hopes that others had survived but only one did, her brother, Harris’ grandfather.

Today, she takes every opportunity to share her stories, stories that her nephew Harris is proud to share too.

“I think it’s an amazing story to share, two members of my family survived the Holocaust and stayed alive for many years after,” Harris said proudly.

To make a donation through the lemonade stand to the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center in honor of Harris Ness, Lena Russo and Ben Elias; Harris’ grandfather, here’s the information:

The Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center
(In Honor of Harris Ness, In Memory of Ben Elias)
Welwyn Preserve
100 Crescent Beach Road
Glen Cove, NY 11542
(516) 571-8040

  • Jason Hubbart Ft Lauderdale

    What about the Palestinian Holocaust ? The Jews have been murdering innocent Arabs for 50 years with the help of the American taxpayer and we never hear anything about it.
    It seems like millions of Jews survived the so called holocaust. What a farce. For how long are you guys going to keep milkiing this cow ?

    • Lisa Clyde

      Jason…you are a very bad man!!!…..what comes around goes around…how can you sleep at night….you are probably all alone and have no friends ….well maybe JImbo99…..hope you have a good night!

    • GetReall100

      “so called”? “farce”?

      No one is “milking” this Jason.
      We’re remembering, so as not to allow it to ever occur again -to any group of people.

      When you try to deny history, when you try to deny the extermination of millions of people in an absolute nightmare of inhumanity, you only open the door to repeating it. Eisenhower knew it which is why he ordered cameras in the camps to document them.

      The story of the Holocaust will be told as long as those that experienced it first hand are still able to speak. Hopefully it will never be forgotten, despite the efforts of people like yourself.

  • wildman

    To Jason and Jimbo 99, you should make a donation,,guess you missed the word “tolerance”. And you also missed the quote : Those that forget history are doomd to repeat it” ..We could over some herbal tea , calmly debate how history is recorded and according to whom, but nonetheless,,Germany,Cambodia,Rhawanda, Darfur,
    Croatia, Serbia, ,,shallI go on or you get it?

  • cooper city parent

    you both should be ashamed of yourselves !!!!! here is a 10 year old trying to do something positive in the memory of his family members. if we lived in a world where parents like these didn’t teach such wonderful things and help there children to become positive members of society then i guess we would live in a world with a bunch of selfish, thoughtless jerks like the two of you… way to go harris !! we should be so lucky to have more kids in the world like you !

    • cper city parent

      way to go wildman.. great comment.. apparently jim’s comment was deleted or reported..

  • Lisa Clyde

    Wow…what a bunch of nazi’s you are jimbo99 and Jason Hubbart……you are probably those people that don’t believe that there was a Holocaust!!!!…Harris is doing a great thing here!!!!….You go Harris!!!!…You are awesome…..don’t listen to these Nazi’s!!!…

    • Jimbo99

      Nope, just concerned for safety. Nobody wants the homeless peddling drinks or whatever else on the streets and at intersections, but a lemonade stand by a 10 year old is ok ? It’s a dangerous place and a business or playing in traffic is irresponsible ? How many are hit on the side walk or at a bus stop ?

  • ethan l

    i agree with jimbo and jason. hoo the heck gives.i have a grandmother too hoo survived the holocaust. but u dont see me bragging about it

  • Everett

    What’s it feel like being something so low and useless?

    Nobody believes your moronic post is authentic.
    Just admit you’re a troll and go on your way to annoy some other message board.

  • Leslie Cohen

    Harris is doing something good here. That’s very thoughtful of him to want to make sure history remains for the generations. What I am shocked and ashamed of is that when the word “Holocaust” is used, the newspapers are all over it. How often did you see mention of what happened in East Timor in 1999? What about in Cambodia from 1974 to 1979? How about Dafur? Armenians? My grandfather survived the Holocaust and it is something he says people should forget about. Remember it only as an atrocious event that happened so as for us to learn from. It is sad to see people still holding on to that time period and using it as a crutch to get what they want.
    Another thing that rubs me wrong is how people say we need to tell the story over and over again so as to not repeat history. It looks like that theory doesn’t hold water. It is happening right now during our lifetime in Palestine. Let’s see CBS4 or The Miami Herald write a story about that.
    Once again, I would just like to commend Harris for his dedication to his family’s heritage but I would also like to urge the rest of you to please open your eyes and see that is still happening, only to a different group of people.

  • Chris Gillespie


    Let me ask you, before this story aired- when was the last time you heard a news story about the Holocaust? The fact of the matter is it’s been out of the news for years. The last period when such stories were “everywhere” was when “Schindler’s List” came out. That was 1993-1995, over 15 years ago.

    In fact it was before kids like Harris were even born. There’s a whole new generation that won’t know about it unless it is told to them.

    You say: “it is sad to see people still holding on to that time period and using it as a crutch to get what they want”.

    Crutch? How is it a crutch? What is it that Harris or Mrs. Russo wants by telling this story? -other than to make sure it is not forgotten as years pass and new generations grow up?

    “My grandfather survived the Holocaust and it is something he says people should forget about.”

    You yourself say it’s an atrocious event that we should learn from, how do you propose young people learn from it unless they hear the story?

    You bring up Darfur, Cambodia & Armenia- this story relates to it directly. It’s a story about man’s inhumanity to man- Mrs. Russo says in the piece, “not only Jews, but for all people”. When a news story about the history of the Khmer Rouge is told- are you going to fault them because you’ve already seen “The Killing Fields”?

    You compare such events to what is going on in Palestine. Shame on you.

    The examples you cite are those of Genocide, of absolute nightmares of inhumanity. Palestinians live in Israel and hold seats in Parliament. The oppression taking place in Palestine and many other Muslim nations is a tragedy that is unfolding on the news as we speak (are you telling me the news hasn’t been reporting enough of what is going on there?). Still, it’s nowhere close to a systematic extermination of millions of people because of their background or ethnicity- which is what the case was in Darfur, Cambodia and Europe.

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