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April 7, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Holocaust survivor to speak at Remembrance Day event

Betty Grebenschikoff Betty Grebenschikoff Betty Grebenschikoff, a Holocaust survivor whose family fled to China from Nazi Germany in 1939, will be guest speaker at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Sunday, April 23.

The community-wide event is being sponsored by the Tampa Rabbinical Association and is being held this year at Congregation Beth Am, 2030 W. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, beginning at 4 p.m.

There will be a short memorial service before Grebenschikoff speaks.

Grebenschikoff is the author of the memoir Once my Name Was Sara, a story of hope and survival.

The memoir details her family’s flight from Nazi Germany just days before her father’s anticipated arrest by the Gestapo, and her later life growing up in Shanghai, the city that became her home. At the time of their flight, Shanghai offered the only port open to European Jews without visas or passports.

“If I hadn’t gotten to Shanghai, I would not be here today, because Shanghai was the loophole that allowed 20,000 Jewish people from Europe to find a haven,” Grebenschikoff told one audience. “There was no other place where we could go at that time.”

Grebenschikoff met and married her husband during her time living in Shanghai and their wedding picture is in the Shanghai Refugee Museum. She also donated her wedding dress to the museum.

In 1950, political events in China made yet another escape necessary, this time to Australia. Grebenschikoff finally realized her dream of emigrating to America in 1953.

In the documentary, Survival in Shanghai, one of two films that features Grebenschikoff, she expresses her appreciation. “I’m very grateful to the city that we survived here. Because of surviving in Shanghai, I have four children, … and I have 12 grandchildren and two great grand-children. I have created my own family.”

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