Day of Learning Survivor Speakers

Alma was only twelve years old when the war began in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The siege of Sarajevo, her birth town, was one of the longest sieges of a capital city in modern history. During that time, her father was shot and killed by a sniper. The devastation caused by war forced Alma’s family to flee and seek refuge in the US. Alma graduated from the San Francisco State University with the degree in International Relations.

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.

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.

Danny‘s father Martin resisted the Nazis and their collaborators as a teenager. Joining a Czechoslovakian partisan brigade, Martin spied on the movements of enemy troops and engaged in regular sabotage against local German forces.  His story was captured in the film Broken Promise, Slovakia’s official submission to the 82nd Academy Award’s Foreign Language category. Danny is on the faculty of Cal Tech where he teaches Physiology and Medical Engineering.

Dina was twelve years old when war broke out in Europe. At the age of fifteen, she went into hiding “in the open” with a Dutch family and worked as a nanny, helping to take care of their newborn baby. After the war, she reunited with her high school sweetheart, and the couple moved to the United States.

Ed was born in Dobromil, Poland and was five years old when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. His mother was an attorney and his father ran a large lumber mill. Following the Nazi invasion, Ed’s parents sent him to live in hiding with a stranger. He pretended not to be Jewish through what is known as “hiding in the open.”

Hans was born in Berlin, Germany. His family fled Germany in 1937, settling in Amsterdam, Holland in 1938. During the German occupation of Holland, Hans and his family survived by various means until he had to go into hiding with a Dutch family in 1943. He lived with them until the end of the war.

Helen was born in Romania. She was deported to Auschwitz with her family in May 1944. She and her sister survived Auschwitz and escaped during a death march in January 1945. They went into hiding until the end of the war. Helen began speaking to students about her experiences in the 1970s and has published a memoir, Remember the Holocaust: A Memoir of Survival.

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. She has published a memoir, Mommy, What’s That Number on Your Arm?  A-6374.

Jean was born in Canton Province, China. She is a survivor of the violence inflicted by Imperial Japanese soldiers on Chinese civilians during Pacific World War II. After the war, Jean moved to Hong Kong, then to the United States. She has been a teacher at Sonoma State University for nearly 40 years.

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. Leon is the author of Black Days and Nights: The Story of My Childhood as a Holocaust Survivor.

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.

Louis was born in 1929 in Amersfoort, Holland. In May 1940, the Germans invaded Holland. Later that year, Louis and his family went into hiding. They were sheltered by various Dutch families. Separated from his family, Louis moved 13 times in the first 13 months and another eight times before the end of the war.

Nanor‘s four great-grandparents were among the few to narrowly escape the Turkish government’s genocide of its Armenian population from 1915-23 – an event which continues to profoundly affect the descendants of the survivors. Emigrating from the Middle East to the US at age 15, Nanor earned a MA in Education and a BA in Political Science. She currently teaches World History at Eastside College Preparatory School in Palo Alto. Additionally, Nanor takes volunteers to Armenia for summer service every summer.

Richard was born in Pageri, a small village in South Sudan. His family was successful in Pageri, and his father was recognized as a leader in the 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 many years in different refugee camps, he immigrated to San Francisco, where he graduated from Stuart Hall High School and now lives with his wife and daughter.

Sonia was born in Germany in 1931. When she was only seven years old, Sonia and her family fled to Belgium to escape Nazi persecution. She and her brother survived the Holocaust by 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 and is the author of Sonia’s Song.