Thursday, May 22, 2003

Pupils hear of escape from Nazis

Holocaust survivor shares family's tale at Hopewell

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Holocaust escapee Stephanie Marks shows Hopewell fifth-graders her Belgian passport Wednesday while discussing her flight.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Stephanie Marks likens her story of Holocaust survival to a tale of flight.

Her story, says the Wyoming great-grandmother, is one of life on the run from the Nazis. From Poland - where the family had been visiting relatives - to home in Belgium, to France, to Portugal; finally settling in Cincinnati in June 1941, at the age of 16.

"I was never in a concentration camp. I was never in a ghetto,'' said Marks, who told her story Wednesday to Hopewell Elementary School fifth-graders. "We were always one step ahead of the Germans.''

Sarah White, 10, said she asked for Marks' autograph "because I want to remember."

"I thought it was amazing she didn't go to a concentration camp,'' said Sarah, of West Chester.

Marks' talk came after the students finished reading Number the Star, about the Holocaust. Marks is featured in the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education's exhibit, sponsored by Hebrew Union College, and is part of the organization's speakers bureau.

Anna Lewandowicz said she was intrigued by Marks' story because parts paralleled her own family's story. Her grandmother and great-aunts, who were Jewish, escaped Poland - but much of their family died in concentration camps.

"Her story was cool," said Anna, 11. "I had heard similar stories.''

Marks said she keeps retelling her story "because I want children to know that under the hardest, most awful circumstances, things can turn out wonderful.''

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