Saturday, May 11, 2013

Special program May 18


“Stories from My Cousins,” a first -hand account of one family’s remembrances of surviving the Holocaust during the German Occupation of France between 1940 and 1944, will be the subject of a special program on Saturday May 18, at 1:00 PM. The program will be presented by Holyoke resident and Holyoke Public Library long-time Trustee Thomas Schwab and is open to the public free of charge. 

While Mr. Schwab’s father and several other members of the Schwab family moved to the United States in the early 1900s, his father’s five sisters and their families remained in France, several living in Paris or its suburbs until World War II broke out. It was then that in order to survive a series of moves were essential. These moves included abandoning their homes and, in some cases businesses, and moving to other parts of what remained as “free” France. 

While the periods of the German Occupation was one of great difficulty for all French residents, its impact on Jews was “incalculably greater” for a variety of reasons. Mr. Schwab’s story of his family’s  struggles and their survival was assembled as a result of personal visits and accounts from family members who survived the Holocaust, and their recollections of other friends, relatives, and countless acquaintances who did not survive. Mr. Schwab’s account is a remarkable tribute to his family and to the survival of the human spirit. 

The presentation of the Holocaust tribute will be held in the Community Room of the Library on the second floor of Holyoke City Hall, 536 Dwight Street. (Enter by the back door that faces the parking lot; other City Hall doors are locked on weekends.)