Leo Adam Biga’s Survivor-Rescuer Stories Featured on Institute for Holocaust Education Website
A couple years ago I approached Beth Seldin Dotan at the Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha, Neb. with a proposal: providing my stories about Holocaust survivors and rescuers for display on the organization’s website, http://ihene.org/. She was already familiar with my work in this subject area and we quickly struck a deal. None of the stories would have happened without the help of the late Ben Nachman, a man who made it his quiet crusade to shed light on the enduring spirit of survivors and rescuers. Ben introduced me to the local survivor community and he also led me to various scholars he’d corresponded with over the years regarding various aspects of the Holocaust and the heroic actions of individuals.
I feel privileged that these stories are finding a new home and audience there. Ben was instrumental in my getting each of these stories. There’s more than a little bit of him in them. By the way, you can see my stories about Ben and the work he did on this blog. Here’s how Beth describes the story queue on the website:
Nebraska Holocaust Stories
Several years ago, freelance journalist Leo Biga conducted extensive interviews with several of Nebraska’s Holocaust Survivors. Biga went on to write detailed articles that chronicle the Holocaust testimonies of the Survivors and the lives they made for themselves in Nebraska. The articles were originally featured in Omaha’s Jewish Press. You can now find them here on the Institute for Holocaust Education website. Some of the stories that you will see have won distinguished recognition: The Fred Kader story won First Place in the Single Feature Story category at the 2002 Nebraska Press Association competition and the article “Sisters of the Shoah” about Rachel Rosenberg, Mania Friedman, and Bluma Polonski won a Second Place tie for the 2004 David Frank Award for Excellence in Personality Profiles in the annual Simon Rockower Awards of the American Jewish Press Association.
The Institute for Holocaust Education sincerely hopes that these articles, now available to the entire world on our website, will honor the lives of our Survivors and keep their stories alive.
The website features only a portion of my Holocaust writing. Some of the same stories featured there can also be found on this blog, and I am in process of adding more.
Here’s how Beth previews the stories (you can go right to the page where the stories are listed by linking to http://ihene.org/nebraska-survivor-stories/):
On a January morning students at Omaha’s Lewis and Clark Middle School file in an auditorium to hear a tale of survival by Bea Karp, a petite Jewish woman of 66 who as a child in her native Germany, and later in France, endured the Holocaust. She and her younger sister, Susie, are among their extended family’s few survivors. As Bea’s harrowing tale unfolds, the students listen with the stilled respect due the haunted figure standing before them. Not all survivors can speak about their experiences. Some want only to forget, Bur for Bea, and thousands like her, there is a need to speak out. To bear witness. Why?
“I’ve been an escape artist all my life.” The apt words belong to Lincoln, Neb. resident Lou Leviticus, a square-headed terrier of a man who as a youth in his native Holland survived the Holocaust partly due to his talents as an artful dodger. He escaped the Nazis more than once, even when those closest to him were caught and put to death. As an orphan on the run he became one of scores of hidden children in The Netherlands, his survival dependent on a cadre of strangers that cared for him as one of their own.
Helena Tichauer was tempted to give up more than once. If she had, no one would have blamed her. For persecuted Jews like her and her family, reasons for despair were everywhere in Nazi-occupied Poland. Her family’s pleasant, comfortable life in Krakow had been wrenched away in the looming darkness of the Holocaust.
For the longest time, Holocaust survivor Kitty Williams of Council Bluffs didn’t think her story warranted telling. She considered her suffering insignificant amid the weight of Nazi atrocities. Other tragedies far surpassed her own. Nobody could find hers interesting or edifying. It’d all been said before.
“I feel I was destined to live.” That’s as close to an explanation as Lola Reinglas can offer in making sense of her Holocaust survival. An Omaha resident since 1949, Reinglas and her sister, Helena Tichauer, survived a series of internments, some together-some apart, that defied reason except for the intervention of fate and their own indefatigable will.
For the first 52 years of his life Fred Kader lived everyday in the shadow of a lost past. An orphaned child of the Holocaust, Kader’s early years remained an unfathomable mystery that he hoped one day to solve so that he might finally come to know how he survived the Shoah as a small boy in his native Belgium.
This is not just another Holocaust story. It is the chronicle of how three sisters survived, alone and together, a series of Nazi concentration camps during World War II to tell their story of human endurance. That not one or two but all three made it out alive is, as the eldest puts it today, “Impossible. I don’t know how we lived. We survived with nothing…not even our hair.”
A gathering unlike any other took place the evening of September 24 at the home of Omaha Holocaust researcher Ben Nachman. Over the course of several hours a diverse group of guests heard three men discuss a shared legacy of survival — one that saw them persevere through the Shoah as hidden children in their native Belgium.
- FYI – Holocaust survivors to receive $ 564 million in reparations. (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- Holocaust Photo Archive (innovationslab.wordpress.com)
- Oldest male holocaust survivor is 105. Video & Pictures (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- Rescuer Curriculum Gives Students New Perspective on the Holocaust (leoadambiga.wordpress.com)
Author-journalist-blogger Leo Adam Biga resides in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. He writes newspaper-magazine stories about people, their passions, and their magnificent obsessions. He's the author of the books "Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film – A Reporter's Perspective 1998-2012," a compilation of his journalism about the acclaimed filmmaker, and "Open Wide" a biograpy of Mark Manhart. Biga co-edited "Memories of the Jewish Midwest: Mom and Pop Grocery Stores." His popular blog, leoadambiga.wordpress.com, is an online gallery of his work.
- My travels in Uganda and Rwanda, Africa with Pipeline Worldwide’s Jamie Fox Nollette, Terence Crawford and Co. leoadambiga.com/2015/08/01/my-… 15 hours ago
- My travels in Uganda and Rwanda, Africa with Pipeline Worldwide’s Jamie Fox Nollette, Terence Craw... leoadambiga.com/2015/08/01/my-… 15 hours ago
- My travels in Uganda and Rwanda, Africa with Pipeline Worldwide's Jamie Fox Nollette, Terence Crawford and... tmblr.co/ZLwDem1r01EMV 15 hours ago
My Favorite Tags
My Favorite Categories
Calendar of Blog Posts
Categories from A to Z and # of Posts
- Change in North Omaha: It's been a long time coming for northeast Omaha
- Color-blind love: Five interracial couples share their stories
- From the Archives: Peony Park Not Just an Amusement Playground, But a Multi-Use Events Facility
- The Troy Davis Story: From Beyond the Fringe to Fringes Salon
- When We Were Kings, A Vintage Pro Wrestling Story
- Long-Separated Brother and Sister from Puerto Rico Reunited in Omaha
- A Martinez Music Legacy: 311's SA Martinez Takes a Music Tradition Laid Down by His Father and Grandfather in a New Direction
- All Abide: Abide applies holistic approach to building community; Josh Dotzler now heads nonprofit started by his parents
- Actress Yolonda Ross is a Talent to Watch
- More Than Buddy: Billy McGuigan Expands on his Buddy Holly Shtick to Collaborate with his Brothers and Band in a Beatles Tribute Show
- My travels in Uganda and Rwanda, Africa with Pipeline Worldwide’s Jamie Fox Nollette, Terence Crawford and Co.
- Change in North Omaha: It’s been a long time coming for northeast Omaha
- North Omaha Summer Arts Crawl – Friday, August 14 from 6 to 9 pm
- The cover for my new book with Father Ken Vavrina, “Crossing Bridges, A Priest’s Uplifiting Life Among the Downtrodden”
- Brent Spencer’s fine review of my Alexander Payne book nets nice feedback
- Coming Soon: A new book I wrote with Father Ken Vavrina, “Crossing Bridges,” the story of this beloved Omaha priest’s uplifitng life among the downtrodden
- Brent Spencer’s fine review of my Alexander Payne book in the Great Plains Quarterly
- Attention must be paid: In the spirit of Everyone Has A Story To Tell…
- North Omaha Summer Arts presents: Art and Gardening
- Music-Culture Mixologist Brent Crampton: Rhythmic anthropology and pure love of human bodies moving
- Moving right along: Educators, dancers, advocates, activists Josie Metal-Corbin and David E. Corbin not slowing down in retirement
- The Champ Goes to Africa: Terence Crawford Visits Uganda and Rwanda with his former teacher, this reporter and friends
- 466,512 hits