@SousaMendesFdn " Journey on the Road to Freedom" Visits Figueira da Foz, #Portugal

The citizens of the charming beach town of Figueira da Foz welcomed approximately 600 refugees in 1940.

One Sousa Mendes visa recipient, and several descendants of visa recipients are pictured below with descendants of the man who saved them, Aristides de Sousa Mendes. They are joined by #Holocaust educators from Canada, the USA and Portugal.

The group is seated in front of the same Farol (lighthouse) de Santa Catarina that was the backdrop for the photo of the Krakowiak Family in 1941 (below).

"Journey on the Road to Freedom" group in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Photo credit: Maurice Weiss, Der Spiegel - July 2019.

"Journey on the Road to Freedom" group in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Photo credit: Maurice Weiss, Der Spiegel - July 2019.

Hala and Ignas Krakowiak with their daughter Yvonne.

Hala and Ignas Krakowiak with their daughter Yvonne.

Yvonne, who was almost three years old, is seen parading around town in the Minho dress that Maria-Luisa, Alberto’s daughter had outgrown. Alberto loaned the Mardi Gras costume to Yvonne even though their would be no parade por causa da guerra in 1941.

Read the Krakowiak Family‘s story in My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II; from their happy life in Poland through their escape from the Nazi onslaught to their arrival in New York, a journey of 1,241 days.

Available through: Amazon, IndieBound and Rakuten Kobo.

Attn: #HolocaustEdu @SousaMendesFdn "Journey on the Road To Freedom"

Attn: Holocaust Educators - Follow in visa recipients' footsteps on the @SousaMendesFdn "Journey on the Road To Freedom".
Aristides de Sousa Mendes Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux, France saved thousands of lives by issuing visas to safety in #Portugal defying the express orders of his government in June 1940.

Bordeaux Hidden Synagogue.jpg

Photo credit Maria Isabel Camacho-Santos June 28 at 5:32 PM

Learn more: Sousa Mendes Foundation Future Events

Read the story of one lucky family in
My Sister’s Eyes : A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II.
Available through:
Amazon and IndieBound

The Journey Route - Bordeaux to Lisbon

SMF Journey trip-map.png

#JewsInSports "Muscular Judaism" a concept coined by Max Nordau - 2nd Zionist Congress - Basel, 1898

Mens sana in corpore sano was the Latin phrase that Ignas Krakowiak learned as a youth at his Maccabi Warsaw scout group and which he continued to quote for the rest of his days.

Read his story of escape from Nazi Europe in My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II.

Available through: Amazon and IndieBound

Ignas Krakowiak - circa 1920 - Warsaw

Ignas Krakowiak - circa 1920 - Warsaw

“A thoroughly researched and intensely moving remembrance.” Kirkus Reviews: My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II

Read about: Muscular Judaism - The term refers to the cultivation of mental and physical properties, such as mental and physical strengths, agility and discipline, which all will be necessary for the national revival of the Jewish people. (Wikipedia)

View a short video: GPF_SPORTS_V15_Final_6-19-19 on the history of Jews in sports suggest to me by my friend Geoffrey Haddad, the author of If I’m not back by Wednesday and Bonga Bonga and Grandpa .

@olgas_table - The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights

TOLI Launches 2019 With Seminars in Montana, Mississippi, New Mexico

and NYC!

Teachers gathering for the NYC TOLI Seminar, led by Senior Program Director, US Programs, Sondra Perl and Associate Director, US Programs, Jennifer Lemberg, will receive copies of My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II, the story of one family rescued by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, compliments of @SousaMendesFdn for their school libraries.

The My Sister’s Eyes Curricular Unit featuring a preface by Dr. Michael Berenbaum was prepared by Jane Robins Denny, Olivia Mattis and Joan Arnay Halperin, and will accompany the gift.

curricular unit_cover_1 full pic light Prepared by bold.jpg

Attn: @ALALibrary - Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries ...

examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

Dr. Michael Berenbaum, Co-founding Curator of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: My Sister’s Eyes is a charming work written with precision and passion. Follow the Krakowiak family from their prosperous life in Poland through the Nazi onslaught - their rescue by the Portuguese Consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes - and their tragic loss…"

Librarians: Please consider adding My Sister’s Eyes, the story of Yvonne Krakowiak, one innocent casualty of those American fears to your library collection.

Available through: @FolletLearning, Kobo and Amazon Kindle

Yvonne Memorial photo

Yvonne’s Memorial photo (b. June 1, 1938, Lodz, Poland - d. June 4, 1942, Gibraltar Camp, Kingston, Jamaica, BWI)

“A thoroughly researched and intensely moving remembrance.” Kirkus Reviews: My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II

Women in the #Holocaust - Fredza Garelick Escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto

Seen posing between the broad leaves of a plant at the Spa in Ciechocinek. Poland, July 27, 1939. Were they unaware or in denial of the dangers that would await them?

Rounded up from Otwock, a suburb of Warsaw , the entire Kaplan family was sent to the Warsaw Ghetto in the winter of 1940-41.

L. to R: Fredza (née Kaplan) Garelick, Max Garelik and Lily Kaplan

L. to R: Fredza (née Kaplan) Garelick, Max Garelik and Lily Kaplan

@KirkusReviews Magazine Features MY SISTER'S EYES in the Indie Section of "The Rebel Issue"

“A thoroughly researched and intensely moving remembrance.”

Congratulations! My Sister’s Eyes has been selected by our indie editors to be featured in the Indie section of the Kirkus Reviews Magazine -“The Rebel Issue: Special Coverage of Writers and Characters Who Break All the Rules” April 1, 2019. This magazine is sent out to over 5,000 industry professionals (librarians, publishers, agents, etc.). Less than 10% of our Indie reviews are chosen for this, so it's a great honor. From Tatiana Arnold, Kirkus Reviews Representative.

Are the editors thinking of Aristides de Sousa Mendes “The Angel of Bordeaux?”

Click to read: My Sister’s Eyes - Kirkus Review

@JewishLibraries - MY SISTER'S EYES Review - "... adults would also find the story fascinating as well."

Halperin, Joan Arnay. My Sister’s Eyes: a Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II.
Gr. 5-12. AJL Reviews by Joyce Levine, May/June 2018

Like Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania who saved thousands of Jewish lives, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat in Bordeaux, France, deliberately defied his government’s decree. Against all orders, he issued visas allowing Jews safe passage into Portugal from where they could then travel to other destinations. The book begins by depicting the author as a young girl begging her parents to tell her about their lives in Lodz, Poland before the war. Their idyllic prewar life soon turns into a nightmarish escape from Belgium and a frantic journey through France and Spain, to a safe haven in Portugal…and finally to the United States. The Krakowiak family’s personal tragedy, losing a daughter to a heartbreaking accident in Jamaica, is revealed when a fellow refugee recognizes the author because her eyes resemble those of the sister she never knew existed (hence, the title: My Sister’s Eyes.)    There are numerous photographs and other documents to support the narrative, including many pieces of personal correspondence. The increasing desperation of those family members trapped in Europe is reflected in their writing. Newspaper clippings, maps, a family tree, and some full color pictures enhance the story. This Holocaust memoir highlights the role of Sousa Mendes, who made a great personal sacrifice through his courageous actions in 1940. He died a pauper in 1954 after being harshly punished by his own government. Sousa Mendes posthumously received recognition and honors from Yad Vashem, the U.S. Congress, and the Portuguese Parliament...    Although the writing is geared to a young audience, adults would also find the story fascinating as well.

Like Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania who saved thousands of Jewish lives, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat in Bordeaux, France, deliberately defied his government’s decree. Against all orders, he issued visas allowing Jews safe passage into Portugal from where they could then travel to other destinations. The book begins by depicting the author as a young girl begging her parents to tell her about their lives in Lodz, Poland before the war. Their idyllic prewar life soon turns into a nightmarish escape from Belgium and a frantic journey through France and Spain, to a safe haven in Portugal…and finally to the United States. The Krakowiak family’s personal tragedy, losing a daughter to a heartbreaking accident in Jamaica, is revealed when a fellow refugee recognizes the author because her eyes resemble those of the sister she never knew existed (hence, the title: My Sister’s Eyes.)

There are numerous photographs and other documents to support the narrative, including many pieces of personal correspondence. The increasing desperation of those family members trapped in Europe is reflected in their writing. Newspaper clippings, maps, a family tree, and some full color pictures enhance the story. This Holocaust memoir highlights the role of Sousa Mendes, who made a great personal sacrifice through his courageous actions in 1940. He died a pauper in 1954 after being harshly punished by his own government. Sousa Mendes posthumously received recognition and honors from Yad Vashem, the U.S. Congress, and the Portuguese Parliament...

Although the writing is geared to a young audience, adults would also find the story fascinating as well.

@TwBookClub - Review of MY SISTER'S EYES

My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescues and Loss During Word War II - Official Review at Online Book Club. Could have been a 4 Star review, but for some punctuation marks. Those are the rules!

inaramid , the OnlineBookClub reviewer chosen to review My Sister’s Eyes , loved it!
She even went above and beyond and sent suggestions for the edits. Have you ever heard of such a kindness from a reviewer?

Well, Joan went right to work and cleared up all the stumbling blocks. She sent a message of gratitude to the reviewer via Scott Hughes, the director of this one million plus member organization. Those are also the rules - no direct contact between author and reviewer - and Scott forwarded the message to inaramid.

Read inaramid’s reaction. at the very bottom.

ONLINEBOOKCLUB - The Following is an official review of "My Sister's Eyes" by Joan Arnay Halperin.

Book with Cover - 3 out of 4 stars

All of us have family stories — the fairy tale of how our parents met, an anecdote about the day we were born, memories of trips we’d taken, and accounts of all other milestones in our lives. In My Sister’s Eyes, Joan Arnay Halperin employs a combination of short narratives, family photographs, letters, and other documents to chronicle her family's story — a moving tale of escape, survival, and loss that took place against the bleak backdrop of World War II.

Joan’s parents, Ignas Krakowiak and Hala Kaplan, met in Lodz, Poland on a blind date and got married in 1935. Amidst the threat of an invasion from Nazi Germany, the couple started their life together, relocating to Brussels, Belgium where they welcomed the birth of a daughter. When war finally struck, the fledgling family escaped through France, Spain, and Portugal, getting stranded in an evacuee camp in Jamaica before eventually securing passage to Brooklyn, New York. Their safety, however, came at a huge price, with the family suffering a tragic blow before reaching their journey’s end. More than a decade later, a fortuitous encounter with a fellow Polish immigrant revealed a family secret that inspired Joan to write this book.

As a narrative nonfiction written for young adults, My Sister’s Eyes vividly depicts the horror that beset the persecuted peoples in Europe during World War II. So much of the past has been lost to today’s youth, with events reduced to mere chapters in a history book and recalled only when needed for a test in school. Photographs and letters have a way of bringing the past to life, and the book’s use of combined textual and visual elements made for a very visceral and immersive read. One picture, in particular, stood out in my mind — a road sign that read, “Jews Unwanted.” It’s a potent reminder of the vilest facets of human nature, but through this “momentary triumph of evil,” we find tremendous inspiration in the goodness shown by others. A noteworthy example recounted in the book is the defiance of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul General who (against orders from his own president) issued visas to anyone fleeing the war. Sousa Mendes’ bravery shows us that it’s never easy to do the right thing, but doing so might just save thousands of lives.

As a family memoir, My Sister’s Eyes highlights the human bonds and relationships forged through collective suffering. Joan notes, “After the Holocaust good friends rose to the status of aunt and uncle, since so many of the real ones were gone.” The narrative puts a human face on the plight of refugees and immigrant families, particularly the long and difficult road it took for them to find a new home. Apart from demonstrating to young readers the concepts of conscience and moral courage, the book also invites discussion on the value of diversity and the importance of our shared humanity.

I wanted to give My Sister’s Eyes the full score. However, two points compelled me to reduce the rating to 3 out of 4 stars. First, the story’s structure diminished the emotional impact of the family secret. As it can be inferred already from the start, I wish Joan had started with the revelation itself before proceeding to bring the pieces together. Second, there were several missing punctuation marks and other typographical errors throughout the text that detracted from the flow of reading. A round of editing should easily clear this up.

My Sister’s Eyes is perfect for anyone who wants to revisit the past from a refugee family’s perspective. Young readers, in particular, will gain a greater appreciation of history from this memoir. Apart from lending insight into a dark period in humanity’s past, Joan has also shared a vital piece of her family’s history.

I feel very privileged to have read their story.

******

My Sister's Eyes

View: on Bookshelves

Comments by IamShing » 23 Mar 2019, 03:05

It is intriguing how an author with such tragic and outrageous past able to write a narrative about her previous life.

I adored how her parents fought over their relationship despite the dangers and threats they had faced. World War II reminds us of how cruel the world could be and I admire it most that her parents --somehow in their way survived and made ot through whatever.

While reading the review, I am interested with this piece regardless of the points deducted.
I think the message os more important.

Thanks for the review.

inaramid's Response:

There is cathartic value in writing about the struggles of the past. The book serves to honor the memory of a beloved family member as well as recognize the bravery and kindness of certain people (most notably, Sousa Mendes) who helped the family escape.

The author's parents do deserve much praise - the father, for his ingenuity and foresight, and the mother, for her silent strength. The cruelty of war, as you said, is disheartening to read about. But this made the rare kindness shown by certain people so much more emotional. These parts of the narrative moved me to tears.

The reduction in the rating was unfortunate. Although the mentioned errors were quite minor, the number exceeds 10, so the system will not allow me to rate it a perfect score anyway.

Thank you for your comments!

Post by inaramid» 26 Mar 2019, 00:36

*

Other comments that were left out can be found using link.

*

inaramid’s NOTE: A huge "Thank You!" and "God Bless You!" to Ms. Joan Arnay Halperin.

The site has just passed on a message of gratitude from the author herself for this review. What makes me really happy as a reviewer is when the input and notes I've made have somehow helped an author in any way. To this end, I've been informed that the errors mentioned in the review have already been rectified, which should definitely make this book a 4-star read.

“All's Well That Ends Well” William Shakespeare

#Portuguese #Minho Yarn Doll - A token of friendship

Joan recommends that all persons interested in the fate of #refugees during #WWII visit the "Frontier of Peace" Museum in Vilar Formoso. On a personal note: If you do go, please take a minute to admire the token of friendship from a ‘not so’ ordinary Portuguese citizen, Alberto Malafaia, to the Krakowiaks, a family of Polish-Jewish refugees.

@marcelorebelo_ with Joan reading from My Sister’s Eyes in front of the #FigueiradaFoz panel at the inauguration of the Fronteira da Paz Museum, August 2017.

Krakowiak panel Fr da Paz Museum.jpg
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Joan reads from MSE to the President of Portugal 2.jpg

@CornerstoneJamaica - Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project (Watch Video Below)

Ainsley Cohen Henriques and David Matalon, both leaders of the United Congregation of Israelites of Kingston, Jamaica, helped me to restore the grave of my beloved sister Yvonne in 2014. At the time of Yvonne’s untimely death at four years old in June of 1942, there was no rabbi nor prayer books, just two devastated parents, Hala and Ignas Krakowiak. at her grave site in the Orange Street Cemetery. (Photos taken 1942, 1960 and June 2014 below).

Thank you to @GaryRobinson (see video below) who was there in November of 2016 to document the Gibraltar Evacuee Camp, a camp created for 1500 Gibraltarians who were evacuated by the British before the fighting would begin in the Mediterranean. Prof. Diana Cooper-Clark organized a reunion of refugees, who were sent to the camp for their protection in 1942, on the occasion of her book launch in November 2016. Inez Baker, fifteen years old at the time she was evacuated to the camp, was the only one of the original evacuees who was able to attend the reunion. She came with her two sons to remember.

I represented my parents, my aunt and uncle and my sister. The Kaddish that was never said at the time of her death was intoned by a very special man, Eli Gabay (see minute 4:14 of the video attached below). I want to thank Diana’s best friend Margaret Thompson (former director of the Jewish Book Fair of Toronto), Anna Ruth Henriques (talented jewelry artist), Amy Wachtel (the soulful radio-jocky Night Nurse), Kathryn Kates Casavant (delightful Canadienne journalist), Inez Baker and her family and Robert Jacobvitz (Chair of the @SousaMendesFdn Advisory Council) for honoring me with their participation on that memorable day.

Approximately 20 persons (and maybe more) were among the evacuees who were rescued first by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and a second time by the JOINT (American Joint Distribution Committee) and supported by the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).

For more about Jamaica:
Dreams of Re-Creation in Jamaica: The Holocaust, Internment, Jewish Refugees in Gibraltar Camp, Jamaican Jews and Sephardim by Prof. Diana Cooper-Clark

If I’m Not back By Wednesday by Geoffery Haddad

L to R: Alan (Gary’s cameraman), Gary Robinson. Margaret Thompson, Diana Cooper-Clark. Amy Wachtel, Itzhak Halperin, Joan Halperin, Inez Bakers’ son (behind Joan), College student reporter on Gary’s Team, Robert Jacobvitz.

L to R: Alan (Gary’s cameraman), Gary Robinson. Margaret Thompson, Diana Cooper-Clark. Amy Wachtel, Itzhak Halperin, Joan Halperin, Inez Bakers’ son (behind Joan), College student reporter on Gary’s Team, Robert Jacobvitz.

L to R: Amy, Joan and Margaret with Joan’s book   My Sister’s Eyes,   a tribute to Joan’s sister Yvonne (pictured on the cover).

L to R: Amy, Joan and Margaret with Joan’s book My Sister’s Eyes, a tribute to Joan’s sister Yvonne (pictured on the cover).

Joan presents a plaque from the Sousa Mendes Foundation (SMF) to the Israelite Community of Jamaica in recognition of the role members of the community played in making life better for the Jewish residents of Gibraltar Evacuee Camp from 1942 - 1946, when the last evacuees left Jamaica.  L to R: Ainsley Henriques, Itzhak Halperin, Joan and Robert Jacobvitz, Chair of the SMF Advisory Council.

Joan presents a plaque from the Sousa Mendes Foundation (SMF) to the Israelite Community of Jamaica in recognition of the role members of the community played in making life better for the Jewish residents of Gibraltar Evacuee Camp from 1942 - 1946, when the last evacuees left Jamaica.
L to R: Ainsley Henriques, Itzhak Halperin, Joan and Robert Jacobvitz, Chair of the SMF Advisory Council.

Top - 1942 - The way Hala and Ignas left the grave. Bottom left - 1960 - The way they found it when the visited, Bottom right - 2014 -The way Joan found Yvonne’s grave. Joan could only identify Yvonne’s grave by its position in the cemetery.

Top - 1942 - The way Hala and Ignas left the grave. Bottom left - 1960 - The way they found it when the visited, Bottom right - 2014 -The way Joan found Yvonne’s grave. Joan could only identify Yvonne’s grave by its position in the cemetery.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was one of the 36 diplomats honored at the UN - Jan 28, 2019

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was one of the 36 diplomats honored at the United Nations Headquarters for helping thousands of people during world War II.
António #Guterres presided over the tribute at the #UN headquarters. The Un Secretary-General recalled the role of these diplomats during the #Holocaust.
#Portugal was one of the countries that promoted this tribute that featured the participation of the permanent representative of Portugal, Francisco Duarte Lopes and the Consul-General In New York, Maria de Andrade Mendes.

Here are some unique moments of sharing emotions with Leah Rozenfeld Sills and Stefan Rozenfeld, Olivia MattisMariana AbrantesJoan Arnay HalperinIsabelle Coelho-Marques, among others.

Click here to see the album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/sousamendesfoundation/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2284288998257701

ASM honored at UN group.jpg

Meeting the Creator of Chasing Portraits - Jewish Film Festival of NYC - Jan. 16, 2019

After following Elizabeth Rynecki @erynecki  creator of Chasing Portraits , from the inception of her Kickstarter campaign to reading the book and finally viewing the documentary,
Joan Arnay Halperin says,
“CONGRATULATIONS Elizabeth you are an inspiration!!! Your work is a tribute to your great-grandfather Moshe Rynecki, painter and historian ( His paintings record the history of Polish Jews of the interwar period.) for his body of work and and to you for your dedication to his memory.”

Elizabeth Rynecki and Joan Arnay Halperin, January 16, 2019

Elizabeth Rynecki and Joan Arnay Halperin, January 16, 2019

UN Honors Diplomat Rescuers on Holocaust Remembrance Day - 2019

The opening of the exhibition BEYOND DUTY:  DIPLOMATS RECOGNIZED AS RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS at the United Nations in New York City on Monday, January 28, from 1:15-2:30 p.m. 

The event is free, but pre-registration is required, please click here.

This space will be prepared for remarks by Secretary General António Guterres and the UN Ambassadors of Portugal, Israel and Peru.

UN - Apollo statue  and satellite.JPG


Where to place MY SISTER'S EYES in your library: J 940.5318 or YAN025090 ??? - How Aristides de Sousa Mendes Saved Thousands During @WWII - My Sister's Eyes at the Hillsdale, NJ Library

As Joan approaches the Holocaust section of the Hillsdale Library, her heart starts to thump…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Author in the stacks2.JPG

There it is - My Sister's Eyes with the author's photo protruding graciously from the shelf…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Catalog Number.jpg

Upon closer inspection, Joan sees the catalog number: J 940.5318 - the "J" stands for Juvenile…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Library Stamp.jpg

The Hillsdale Library stamp sits proudly on the title page…

My Sister's Eyes - Hillsdale Library - Holocaust section - Next to Elie Wiesel   arrow.jpg

And, to put the icing on the cake, Joan remarks that My Sister's Eyes rests auspiciously close to Elie Wiesel's Night (Follow the red arrow.)

Borrow a copy of
My Sister’s Eyes: A Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II or (better yet) get your own copy to share with your family at @SousaMendesFdn Store Click here: Sousa Mendes Foundation.org