“Hidden child” during the Holocaust

The Institute for Jewish Services and Studies is pleased announce a special program with Willy Halpert who survived the Holocaust years of 1942 to 1945 as a hidden child. This program is being co-sponsored with the Jewish Friendship Group of SaddleBrooke.

In August 1942, Willy was walking with his father on the streets of Antwerp, Belgium, when the street was blocked off by the S.S. Willy’s father pushed him away into the arms of a stranger. His father, a member of the Resistance, was arrested and after that day Willy never saw his mother and father again.

Willy (then called Akiba) was spirited away in the back of a truck during the night. Willy remembers arriving at a scary looking castle and being entrusted to a monk. Willy spent the next three years under an assumed name, Willy van Ham, with other orphaned children, not knowing what had happened to his family.

In 1946 Willy was reunited with his three sisters and sent off to Australia to live with an uncle, the only surviving relative the International Red Cross had found.

The two presentations by Willy will take place on Sunday, March 1 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at MountainView Clubhouse and a repeat presentation on Monday evening, March 9, 2015, at the HOA1 Activities Center at 7:00 p.m.

In his presentation, Willy will relate his experience of travelling to Belgium in May 2014, when, at the urging of his family and friends, he went on a quest to retrace his lost childhood, to rediscover the years he spent as Willy van Ham and attempt to piece together the fragments of memory he retained from that time.

Willy’s program is open to the entire community.

Please RSVP for either of the programs to Marilyn Anthony at [email protected] or phone 812-1455.

We look forward to seeing you on either March 1 or March 9 for this very important and moving program.