Two Holocaust survivors will speak at the Spring Hill Public Library on Thursday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m.
Frances Cutler was born in Paris from Polish immigrant parents amid the turmoil of the German invasion. Worried that she could not protect her daughter, her mother brought three-year-old “Fanny” to a Catholic children’s home, where she could visit her weekly. Her mother was deported to Auschwitz in 1942, where she died, pregnant with Frances’s only sibling. After that, Frances was taken to a Catholic farm to prevent her deportation. Her father joined the French Resistance and died from combat wounds in 1946.
“I remember most being jealous and resentful that I was not part of a family,” says Frances. Growing up in various foster homes, she was often seated away from the host family’s birth children, never sharing in the joys of dinner table laughter, toys, and treats. She longed for familiarity and security-and mostly for the mother she barely remembered.
Frances has had two religions, five names, seven homes, and eight families; all tools for survival for a hidden child during the Holocaust. The children (and their hosts) lived in constant danger. Many never saw their birth families again.
In 1948 Frances came to live with her aunt and uncle in America. Even though she became an American citizen in 1953, her Polish roots and French upbringing made it difficult for her to feel at home anywhere. A trip to France in 1978 began the process of healing, although, she says, it took a long time and a lot of work for me to let it go. She recently published a book in collaboration with other hidden children.
Her husband, George Hahn, will also share his experiences. He was born in Vienna, Austria in 1930. He was seven years old when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and began persecuting Jews. He left Austria for the U.S. with his parents four months later. He grew up in New York, studied engineering, and holds a doctorate degree from MIT. A Professor Emeritus at Vanderbilt, he taught materials science and performed research before retiring in 1998.
Dr. and Mrs. Hahn will speak at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, May 9. For directions and more information about the Spring Hill Public Library go to www.springhilllibrary.org or call 931-486-2932.
Category: Entertainment, Arts & Recreation