Journalist whose mother journaled during Shoah to speak here

David Lee Preston

David Lee Preston has never spoken publicly about the diaries his mother kept while hiding in the sewers of Lvov, Poland, during the Holocaust. Next month, he will.
The award-winning journalist from Philadelphia will speak about his mother’s account of her ordeal when he appears at Bellarmine University at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, for Jewish Louisville’s annual Yom HaShoah program. He also will speak at 1 p.m. that same day at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, Indiana.
He last appeared in Louisville five years ago.
In 2015, while cleaning out his childhood home in Delaware, preparing it for sale, Preston discovered four notebooks of original Polish poetry and prose written by his mother as she hid from the Nazis for 14 months, from 1943 to 1944, in a Lvov sewer. At the time, Lvov was part of Poland. Today, it is in Ukraine and called Lviv.
While Preston has spoken publicly about his mother’s experiences, he has never addressed the contents of the diaries.
He also will use his appearances here to address current efforts by the Polish government to thwart research into the Holocaust.
Preston is the justice & injustice editor at the Philadelphia Media Network, where he coordinates coverage of crime and courts for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and their shared website, He has spent most of the last four decades at that news organization as an award-winning reporter, columnist and editor.
Preston has spoken widely about his parents, both of whom were survivors. He chronicled their lives in three acclaimed cover stories in the Inquirer’s Sunday magazine. His Mother’s Day 1983 article, “A Bird in the Wind,” published five months after his mother’s death, was hailed by Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum as “the best article ever written about a survivor.” It was the first English-language account of the 14-month survival of Preston’s mother and nine other Jews in the sewers beneath Lvov, a story upon which the Polish director Agnieszka Holland’s based his Oscar-nominated 2011 movie In Darkness.
In his 1985 article about his father, “Journey To My Father’s Holocaust,” Preston returned with his parent to Auschwitz, Buchenwald and other places where the elder Preston had been during the war. The story was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. It also won awards from the Overseas Press Club of America and the Associated Press Managing Editors.
In 1986, during a dinner of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, hundreds of survivors gave him a standing ovation for a spoken letter to his late mother.
Preston has been a senior editor at in Atlanta, and a reporter at the Kansas City Star and the Wilmington News-Journal. He reported throughout the Middle East for Universal Press Syndicate during the Iranian revolution in 1979. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In 2005, he taught journalism to Chinese diplomacy students at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

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