Child Survivors of the Holocaust Share First-Hand Accounts in How We Survived: 52 Personal Stories by Child Survivors of the Holocaust, co-presented by CSHLA and LA Museum of the Holocaust

Wednesday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. 

Produced by the Child Survivors of the Holocaust Los Angeles, the oldest Child Survivor group in the country,  the book How We Survived: 52 Personal Stories by Child Survivors of the Holocaust, is a moving documentation of the individual experiences of children who were able, through means as varied as the human spirit itself, to survive  unthinkable horror and then find the courage to share their stories. With an introduction by Henry Slucki, LAMOTH and CHSLA presents this group of beautiful contributors and two younger family members who will honor us with a reading, talk, q&a and signing.

If survival itself was a miracle, so was surviving survival.

How We SurviveMeet the children from World War II’s Europe who faced and survived the reality of Germany’s decision to annihilate Judaism at its roots. Experience, through frightened eyes and terrifying memories, the remarkable first hand stories of survival by 52 people who lived as children through this most horrific event of the 20th century, the Holocaust. This volume of personal accounts is all the more precious because of how few children survived. In Nazi-occupied Europe, 93% of Jewish children were murdered. Every surviving child needed a helping hand, a kind adult (or many), in order to make it. Heroism comes in many guises. It may require faith, morality, modesty, love, respect, and sacrifice. Whatever the personal ingredients, relatively few stepped forward. What did the children themselves contribute? Their silence, co-operation, intuition, facility with languages, suppression of grief and tears, delay of mourning enormous losses, the will to live. Astonishing. A child one day – an adult the next. The penalty for any failure of judgment meant death. The reader should note that these traumatized children struggled to become good citizens, raise families, and contribute to their communities. If survival itself was a miracle, so was surviving survival. Each one of the stories offers an opportunity to learn from a child’s experiences with prejudicial hatred and pure evil, about personal fortitude and resilience, about rare individuals who helped children in need, and about courage – the courage of the survivor to share his or her story. 

Readers:

Henry Slucki was born Paris, France, 1934. He arrived in the U.S. as one of the thousand Unaccompanied “evacuated children” admitted into the U.S. In 1943.He is currently a professor at USC.

Jonas Blum, 16 years old, Augie Blum, 14 years old, and Ella Lynch 10 years old will read from their grandfather John Gordon‘s autobiography.

John Gordon was born in Budapest, Hungary, 1936. Helped by his aunt, he received  a Swedish shutz-pass for safe houses protected by Raoul Wallenberg. His maternal grandparents raised him. He came to the U.S. after the Hungarian Revolution and attended college. His widow adds: “My husband John, of blessed memory, worked in the field of aerospace as an electrical engineer and a planning manager. When he retired in 1995, he began to explore his identity as a Child Holocaust Survivor. He quickly became very involved as a volunteer with the Shoah Foundation and with the Holocaust community, helping survivors through Jewish Family Service, and serving on the board of Child Survivors of the Holocaust, LA. He also served on the board of our synagogue, Adat Shalom, and spoke in schools about his experiences. He would be very pleased and proud to have his grandsons read from his story.We were married for 48 years, and I try to honor his legacy by remaining involved with this community that was so vital to him.”–Henrietta (Henny) Gordon

Lya Meijers-Frank,  was born in Utrecht, Holland, 1936. She arrived in the U.S. in 1957. She retired from a career in banking. She is currently president of CSHLA and Peer counselor at Wise and Healthy Aging, Santa Monica. She will be accompanied by one of her “hiding sisters”.