Monday, July 04, 2022

(Courtesy of NNJ HMEC) The Northern NJ Holocaust Memorial and Education Center, in conjunction with the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, is proud to present a virtual program and discussion in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Week on Sunday, January 31, at 7:00 p.m., featuring Evi Blaikie, a child Holocaust survivor.

Evelyne “Evi” Juliette Blaikie was born in Paris in 1939 is a Hungarian Jew who was one of the “hidden children” who were in hiding during the Holocaust (1941-1945). After World War II broke out and Nazi-Germany overran Paris in 1940, her father, Herman, a member of the Communist Party, went underground. Soon after, her mother, Magda, was caught in a raid and sent to a slave-labor camp. At two and a half years old, Evi was taken to Hungary by an aunt under her male cousin’s passport. Two years later, Magda managed to escape from the camp and was reunited with Evi in Budapest just a few months before the Germans marched into Hungary on March 19, 1944.

With false papers, Magda, Evi and Magda’s nephew Peter sought refuge on a farm in the countryside. After a year in hiding they were liberated by the Soviet army. By then, several members of their family had disappeared during the war, including Evi’s father.

In January 1946, Magda and Evi returned to Paris. For the next 10 years Magda (who died in 1952) attempted to put their lives back together while Evi lived in orphanages, a Catholic convent, foster homes and with various family members in France and in England. In 1960, Evi accepted an invitation from her uncle to work for him in Caracas, Venezuela. From there she emigrated to the United Stated and studied fashion design and worked on New York’s Seventh Avenue for 25 years.

In 1991, at the first International Conference for the Hidden Child, Evi finally reconnected with her past and started writing down the memories of her childhood. “Magda’s Daughter: A Hidden Child’s Journey Home” is her first full-length work. With another hidden Child she cofounded the Hungarian Hidden Children, a group that still meets once a month.

The second part of the program will feature Dr. Dennis Klein, Kean University professor of history and director, Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies program, who will discuss “Survival to Resilience” with Evi and two additional child survivors—Felice Stokes of Teaneck and Hans Gesell of Englewood. Suggested donation is $18 and sponsorships are available. Proceeds will go to the Centerpiece Capital Campaign for the Proposed Memorial.

Please go to www.nnjholocaustmemorial.org to register.

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