Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Heartwarming Holocaust story of survival, love.

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Who said writing’s not important?

This Yahoo post, entitled, “After 62 years, Holocaust survivor reunites with lost friend whose passport led her to America,” is one of the most heartwarming stories I’ve ever read, and it all started with one essay.

Intrigued?  Well, read on . . . .

In 1947, Cherie Rosenstein was five years old and living in an orphanage in Paris.  Her name at that time was Maria Helena Chuchnowicz, but when she was placed in the home of Eleanor Bohne-Hene, she was quickly nicknamed “Cherie,” meaning “dear,” by Bohne-Hene’s daughters Monique and Catherine.  The nickname stuck.

Here’s a link to the story:

As the Yahoo story says:

The next phase of the plan was for Bohne-Hene to take Rosenstein to the United States — but America’s quota system blocked Rosenstein. So the little girl posed as Monique Bohne-Hene, her hair bleached blond to resemble Monique’s passport photo.

She boarded what she recalls as a “monstrous bird of steel,” which deposited her in her new home in Ohio.

Cherie Rosenstein was eventually adopted by Libby and John Moskowitz of Ohio, and was taught English by the couple.  How she got past all the difficulties of her unusual entry into the United States was related by her own essay, entitled “Child of the Holocaust” at the Dayton Jewish Observer and available at this link:

Here’s a bit of that:

The war’s end brought problems of staggering proportions: thousands of Jewish survivors with no homes, families or money. Palestine was the only place in the world to unconditionally welcome these homeless Jews. Because Palestine desperately needed people to populate, build and defend the land, Vaad Hatzalah chose this land to resettle its refugees and children, including those of my orphanage.

Since he was a close friend of Rabbi Silver and Rev. Schmidt, John Moskowitz of Cincinnati turned to them to help him and his wife find a Jewish orphan to adopt as their own.

When Rev. Schmidt went to Paris and visited my orphanage, pictures were taken of some of the children. Upon returning to Cincinnati, he showed the pictures to the Moskowitzes. I became the chosen one.

Just the thought of little Cherie (née Maria Helena) having to endure all that after her parents had died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp made me shiver, yet she survived.

And the story gets better, because Rosenstein has recently been reunited with her childhood friend and companion, Monique (Bohne-Hene) Valvot after trying for many years, unsuccessfully, to find her.  And it was Rosenstein’s own essay in the Dayton Jewish Observer that helped lead Valvot, who’d also been looking for any word of little Cherie, to find her, because Valvot saw the article on the Internet.

Behold the power of writing, folks, at its best.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm

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