Hélène J. testimony 2015 [video recording]
Date of Recording26 August 2015
Duration2h 16m 0.0s
SynopsisHélène J. was born in Liège, Belgium on April 3, 1934. She describes her family and explains that she does not remember much about their daily lives before the Holocaust. She discusses her relationship with her younger sister. She recalls her primary school education. She describes hiding in bomb shelters. She discusses her parents’ knowledge about increasing danger and their failed attempt to leave. She describes hiding at night in the home of a couple involved in the resistance. Hélène explains how her parents arranged for her and her sister to live in a children’s home. She describes being moved to an orphanage near Brussels and receiving cards from her parents. She describes being aware of the war going on and realizing her parents had been taken away. She recalls receiving visits from the friends of the family involved in the resistance. She describes learning when the war ended and living for a time with family friends. She describes how her surviving relatives used l’Oeuvre National de l’Enfance to locate her and her sister. She describes learning that her parents died at Auschwitz. She discusses how her godparents tried to adopt her and her sister. She describes travelling to England to live with her mother’s family. She describes adjusting to life in England and being separated from her sister. Helene explains her decision to immigrate to Canada at age 24. She describes her continued education at university. She describes her experience returning to England and Belgium. She discusses experiencing nightmares. She discusses her faith. Hélène references and shows letters that her mother wrote to her family in England throughout the interview. Hélène also shows photographs.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.