Your Library is partnering with the Northeast Tennessee Holocaust Education Council to host Sonja DuBois, a child survivor of the Holocaust who lives in Knoxville.
DuBois will speak about her experience on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. in the library’s Jones Meeting Center. Her autobiography, Finding Schifrah: The Journey of a Dutch Holocaust Child Survivor, will be for sale at the event and there will be a book signing after her talk.
Sonja DuBois was born in the Netherlands in 1940 to a Jewish family. When she was two years old her parents secretly gave her to a friend before they were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they were murdered soon after.
For the first 12 years of her life, DuBois did not know her birth name or history. DuBois’s adopted parents only told her about her Jewish identity when they immigrated to America in 1952, because she had to sign her passport using her birth name.
After that, DuBois dedicated herself to learning everything she could about her own story and finding blood relatives.
Children who survived the Holocaust because their families gave them up are known as “hidden children.” These child survivors were saved from danger because of their parents’ sacrifices and the brave foster and adopted families who raised them as their own.
The Northeast Tennessee Holocaust Education Council (NTHEC) partners with survivors like DuBois to tell the story of the Holocaust. DuBois speaks to groups throughout Tennessee about how the Holocaust impacted her life and her journey of learning her Jewish identity.
NTHEC organizer Kim Kenneson said that Holocaust child survivors offer important and unique perspectives on the horrors of the Holocaust and the fragility of humanity.
“Knowing that a government regime would seek to annihilate children makes us again aware of the extent of the Nazis’ prejudices and hatreds,” Kenneson said. “Yet through a network of rescuers, including parents who relinquished their own children, these child survivors can now tell an incredible story of resisting even the most despotic rulers. From their stories we learn ways to uphold human decency.”
Kenneson continued, “In her talks, Sonja DuBois speaks to the bravery of her rescuers and the ingenuity of her birth family. She asks her audiences to think critically about ways they can impact those around them by standing up to injustice.”
NTHEC is a group of local teachers, professors, librarians and members of the B’nai Sholom congregation. The Council’s purpose is to promote Holocaust awareness by providing resources to area schools and organizations. Visit NTHEC’s Facebook page to learn more about the Council’s work.
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