"How We Survived" Panel discussion w/Mona Simpson and Children Survivors of the Holocaust
DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood is proud to host a panel discussion for How We Survived: 52 Stories moderated by Mona Simpson and featuring some children survivors of the Holocaust, Eva Chava Brettler, Henry Slucki, and Marie Kaufman on Wednesday, April 19th at 6:30 pm.
"This anthology is a gift to you, the reader, the student and the teacher. You are now the keepers of our story. You are our witnesses and the guardians of our legacy. It is our hope that you will pass on the lessons that these stories tell." With these words, Marie Kaufman, child Survivor of the Holocaust, Emeritus President of the Child Survivors of The Holocaust Los Angeles, opens the pages of this extraordinary volume of collected child Survivor narratives, How We Survived: 52 Stories.
The volume was first printed in 2011 by the Child Survivors of the Holocaust Los Angeles, a group of women and men who were not only among the youngest living witnesses to the Holocaust but also members of the last generation to share memories of childhoods lived during this brutal and wrenching period in history. The combined import and tenderness in these pages has made it a legacy gift for all readers and especially young people coming of age in these newly complex times.
Now, in its second printing, this book stands as a communal gathering for all time, for the witnesses whose voices remain clear and strong through these pages. Following their experiences from diverse childhoods through complex struggles in camps, in hiding and through their rugged transitions as immigrant refugees, this book takes us through their life journeys and delivers us to their miraculously reconstituted lives as mothers, fathers, widows, and widowers, teachers, therapists and business people. The story of their generation and the history of Los Angeles are incomplete without the telling of these poignant and courageous life stories.
Mona Simpson is the author of Casebook, Anywhere But Here, The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road, and My Hollywood. Off Keck Road won the Heartland Prize from the Chicago Tribune and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award, and a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Simpson is on the faculty at UCLA and also teaches at Bard College.
Eva Chava Brettler was born in November 1936 in Kolozsvar, Hungary. After hiding in Swiss and Swedish safe houses, Eva and her mother were captured by the Nazis and sent on the march towards Germany, where her mother was shot or disappeared before her eighth birthday. Eva was transported by cattle car to Ravensbruck concentration camp and later to Bergen-Belsen. At just 8 ½ years of age, she was liberated on April 15, 1945 by the British Army. After surviving typhus fever, she traveled to a Swedish orphanage with the International Red Cross on the ship Kastelholm. After learning of her father’s survival, she returned to Hungary in January, 1947, where she celebrated her tenth birthday with her father, and her new step-mother and half-brother. When the Hungarian Revolution began in October, 1956, Eva illegally crossed the border into Austria and traveled to Vienna. She received an entry visa to the United States due to chemistry training in 1957 and settled in Los Angeles, where she later received a psychology degree at UCLA, worked as a social worker, and proudly raised four children with her husband, also a Holocaust Survivor, Marten Brettler.
Henry Slucki was born in Paris, France on July 12, 1934. Henry’s family relocated to Montauban in Vichy France and escaped by foot through the Pyrenees when the German army arrived in November 1942. The family survived the five-day trek with the guidance of three Spanish Republicans in exile and help from mountain villagers. With aid from their refugee friends and the American Joint Distribution Committee, Henry and his parents were able to settle in Barcelona. Per the decision of the Bermuda Conference on Refugees to permit 1,000 child refugee visas to the United States, Henry emigrated to Washington Heights in Manhattan to live with distant relatives. His parents arrived in New York in April, 1946 and together they moved to Los Angeles in 1949. Henry raised a loving family and served as a faculty member of University of Southern California for over 45 years teaching behavioral science. He carries on his parent’s tradition as a progressive, secular Yiddishist, resisting tyranny with insight and love.
Photo Credit- Paul Ryan
Marie Kaufman was born on March 19, 1941 in Albi, France. Marie’s parents met whilst fleeing Paris in 1940 to the “free zone” in southern France with hundreds of other refugees. In 1942, when Marie was only 1 ½ years old and the Vichy France government had collaborated with the Germans, Marie’s father narrowly fled arrest and with the help of strangers hid in a cave along a stone cliff for months. Later, Marie and her family returned to Paris in 1946, then were sponsored to come to America by relatives who survived the war. They arrived at Ellis Island on March 6, 1951 just before Marie’s tenth birthday and continued on to Los Angeles. Marie’s father endured the work of sweatshops in downtown Los Angeles and later unemployment and her parents turned their rage on each other. Marie escaped growing anger and abuse at home, finding comfort at the Jewish Community Center, where she received subsidized classes from loving teachers. Marie went on to become a proud mother of two and a “bubbie” to four beloved grandchildren.
Copies of How We Survived: 52 Stories will be available at the event.