HIGHLAND PARK, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Monday night marks the beginning of a somber reflection for the Jewish community: Yom HaShoah, which is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
For one former New Jersey mayor-turned-author, it's a very personal day.
Meryl Frank's family members in Europe were among the six-million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
Decades later, she discovered the secret story of one relative and has written about it in her new book: "Unearthed: a Lost Actress, a Forbidden Book and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust."
It explores the story of her cousin, Franya Winter, who was a famous actress.
When Frank saw photos of her, she knew she had to find out more about who her cousin was and what happened to her.
"I was enchanted by her, I could relate to her, and I wanted to know what happened but no one would tell me. Because she was a well-known figure there were newspaper accounts, and I found testimony of someone who was with her when she fought the Nazis and when they killed her," Frank said.
"Just after the war, that generation didn't talk about it. I think they thought it was too painful," he continued. "But the next generation wants to find out and feels a responsibility to pass on the memory."
Frank, who is the former mayor of Highland Park, New Jersey, says that the responsibility to talk about the Holocaust is even more important now in light of the rise in anti-Semitism.
"Unearthed" is available in bookstores and online.
Find out more at Meryl Frank's website.