Students, faculty and community members gathered in Norris Tuesday evening for a reading and signing of a new collection of Holocaust stories. The anthology, titled Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust, was edited by Elaine Saphier Fox (SESP '55) and features an introduction from Weinberg professor Phyllis Lassner.
"They needed someone to help them put their stories together," Fox said. "The world must hear firsthand what these last survivors remembered and what they endured."
Five of the authors featured in the anthology read portions of their work. Chaya Roth described how she was forcibly separated from her family when the Nazis rounded up the Jewish people of Nice, France.
"The tears and screams of a panic stricken seven-year-old threatened to trigger disorder, if not outright panic, among 650 Jewish people who had been rounded up that day," Roth read.
After an observer whisked her away from the scene, she was reunited with her sister and fled from France to Belgium and then Italy before finding a home in the United States.
"Unlike many anthologies of holocaust testimony and memoirs that are edited to create a unified story, this book dramatizes the individual voices of each contributor," Lassner said. "Each of their poems and stories is unique in the coherence it creates out of the survivors' displacement and discontinuity."
Creating Out of Chaos took five years of "sitting around a table painfully telling, retelling and rewriting their stories over and over again," Fox said. The anthology took over five years of collaboration between Fox and the authors.
After the reading, 17 of the collaborators stood in the front of the room and answered questions ranging from the state of Holocaust education in Europe to the necessity of intervening in current humanitarian crises. Many of the authors have spent decades retelling their survival stories to audiences across the country.