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On Being a Second Generation Holocaust Survivor: The Importance of Keeping the Legacy Alive

On Being a Second Generation Holocaust Survivor: The Importance of Keeping the Legacy Alive

2023 marks the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, on which the Nazis coordinated systematic attacks against Jews throughout Germany.  In consideration of this anniversary and the uptick of antisemitic incidents worldwide, The Reading Public Library is honored to welcome Gayle Saks, whose family was directly affected by Nazi persecution. After four of her older siblings were deported to a Belgian concentration camp, Gayle's mother, Fadja Wittelsohn, hid for two years in the basement of a private residence in Bruxelles. Her view of the world was limited to feet walking past the one window they had, where they lived in constant fear of being found.

Recently uncovered documents and photographs of her mother's siblings have added a new layer to her recently updated talk.  With the help of a Belgium-based researcher, pictures that had never been seen, deportation lists and detailed records that fill in the stories that her family had only ever heard snippets of add layers to the story that need to be shared.

Gayle is keenly aware of the importance of telling her mother's story while navigating though the sensitive and complicated terrain of passing the torch to her daughter as the keeper of this critical piece of cultural history.

Gayle Saks has had several pieces of writing published on the subject of being the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and the residual severe trauma and depression that stayed with her mother until her untimely death at 55.

She has also written extensively about her work as an addiction counselor and her work with inmates.  

Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Politico, The Fix, Kveller and many others.  After thirty five years of living in the Boston area, she and her husband  recently moved to the Berkshires where she works as a high-school counselor.  

This event is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Reading Public Library.

Monday, October 23, 2023
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Community Room A, Community Room B

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