Day of Learning Survivor Speakers

AnneMarie was born in Chemnitz, Germany. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, AnneMarie’s father was imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp. After his release she and her parents escaped to Belgium. After the Nazi invasion of Belgium in May 1940 AnneMarie’s father sent her to a convent to hide for the remainder of the war.

Bihama was four years old when the Rwandan Genocide took place in his native country in 1994. After their mother died Bihama and his two sisters crossed the border and became refugees in Uganda. Eventually Bihama came to the United States with his youngest sister; they are currently struggling to find a way to bring their other sister to join them. Bihama is a champion marathon runner.

Dina was sent into hiding in 1943 at 15 years old. She was fortunate to be hidden by a welcoming family, and was able to be the nanny of the house while the parents continued with their daily routine. After the war, Dina reunited with her family and her high school sweetheart, who she later married. Her brother-in-law was generous enough to sponsor Dina and her husband and help them move to America.

Ellen is the author of “Deli Sarkis: The Scars He Carried,” about her father’s survival during the Armenian Genocide and her own journey in writing the book. Born in Iraq, Ellen grew up in San Francisco and taught English, Art, and Social Studies for 42 years.

Fanny spent her early childhood in Aix-les-Baines, France. One day in 1943, Fanny came home from school only to find out that her parents and younger sister had been taken by the Gestapo. She spent the remainder of the war in hiding.

Holly is the daughter of resistance fighter Sara Rosnow (z”l). After escaping from a ghetto, Sara met members of the Zhetler Battalion and joined their partisan unit in a nearby forest. Holly, along with Alexa Brown and Rachel Cvetich (Sara’s granddaughters), will share Sara Rosnow’s story.

Lenci was born in Czechoslovakia in 1922. In 1944 her family was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she and her sisters were separated from the rest of their family. During a forced march Lenci and her sisters were able to escape. They survived by passing as German refugees until they were liberated on May 8, 1945.

Gloria was born in Czechoslovakia. At 14 she and her family were deported to Auschwitz with the Jewish transports from Hungary. She survived seven camps, including Bergen-Belsen and Ravensbrück. Gloria began speaking publicly about her experiences more than 20 years ago, when she saw a brochure claiming the Holocaust never happened.

Jeannette was born in 1939 in Amsterdam, Holland. By 1942 conditions in Holland became very dangerous for Jews. She and her brother were sent away to hide with a non-Jewish family. It was not until after the war that Jeannette learned that her parents had perished in Auschwitz. In August 1945 she was “reclaimed” by her uncle and grandmother who had survived. Jeannette lived with her uncle, his new wife, and her brother until 1954, when they immigrated to the United States.

Leon was born in Czernowitz, Romania and was ten years old when the Nazis invaded in 1941. He and his family were deported to a ghetto in the Transnistria region, where they lived for three years until the liberation of the ghetto in 1944. They immigrated to the United States in 1951.

Lily was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1939. In 1941, Bulgaria became a member of the Axis powers and established anti-Jewish legislation. In 1943 all Jews were ordered to be deported. Due to public protest from key political and clerical leaders, 50,000 Bulgarian Jews, including Lily and her family, were saved. A year after the war Lily and her family were reunited with her father in the United States.

Lori was born in 1925 in Vienna, where her family lived comfortably. After the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938 her immediate family scattered: her brother went to Rotterdam, her father to Shanghai, her mother to the United States, and Lori to London, at the age of 13. After two years in London, Lori was finally reunited with her family in New York.

Ralph was born in Dresden, Germany in 1931. When he was seven years old, Ralph was sent alone on a Kindertransport to England to escape Nazi persecution. At the outbreak of war he was evacuated to the English countryside to escape the expected bombing. Educated in England, Ralph immigrated to the United States when he was 27 years old.

Richard was born in Pageri, a small village in South Sudan. His family was successful and his father recognized as a leader in their community. When the country descended into civil war in the 1990s and the government began bombing Pageri, Richard and his family fled to Uganda. After years living in different refugee camps he immigrated to San Francisco, where he graduated from Stuart Hall High School. He continues to reside in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

Rosette was born in France in 1932. During her early childhood she and her family lived quite comfortably in Paris. When the Nazis invaded France in 1940, the family moved from place to place, eventually finding themselves in Algeria. In 1942 the family made its way back to France, then boarded a ship headed across the ocean to Cuba.

Sonia was born in Germany in 1931. She and her family fled to Belgium to escape Nazi persecution when she was seven years old. Sonia and her brother survived the Holocaust in hiding at a Catholic orphanage. An accomplished singer, Sonia has twice been honored by the French government for her lifelong dedication to promoting French culture and language.

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