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Learn more about FIBERS: A Play on Memory, Based on Forgetting at www.amyoes.com/FIBERS

This is the last picture I have with my grandmother, April 25,2005.

Hours later, I would be rushed to the emergency room, and my grandparents would be sent home in a cab, back to their house in Brooklyn, New York.

I would never see them again.

As the granddaughter of holocaust survivors, I believe their strength and spirit enabled me to survive my coma and the traumas that followed. In this piece, tentatively called FIBERS, I intend to explore transgenerational trauma and post traumatic growth through multidisciplinary performance. I’ve compiled a collection of oral history interviews with my grandmother’s eight surviving relatives regarding their memories of the Holocaust and immigration narratives after the war from Belgium, to Prague, New York to California, Israel and London.  

Some told the same stories, some told different interpretations entirely, and some seemed to pick up where another left off.  I became fascinated by the relationship of history and memory, and took on the role of detective, artfully stringing together a family narrative, linking unfinished fragments and filling in gaps in each relative’s story with the anecdotes of others.  In doing so, I was able to link the missing pieces and construct an extraordinary journey of my family’s survival, who were also known as one of the largest families to immigrate to New York after the war on one ship.

I then conducted oral histories with the second generation regarding their upbringing, in the homes of survivors, and was struck by how little they knew of their parents’ stories, and their own attitudes towards the Holocaust.  Their displaced sense of identity was further contrasted by interviews I conducted with third generation children, who were more driven towards gathering these stories for social justice initiatives.

Learning how my grandparents were first discriminated against in New York tenements, and then went on to establish a thriving garment business, led me to investigate resilience after trauma, and a survivor’s capacity to transform adversity to creative growth. I related this to own journey of survival at 18, also my Grandmother’s age in Auschwitz. I found many parallels with not only her story, but in how I was able to regain faith, resilience, and identity.  It was only when I allowed her memory to re-enter my life could I grieve, and move forward, and heal.

I plan to create documentary theatre, fusing monologues curated from 400+ pages of transcribed oral histories and audio recordings, my personal narrative of survival, insights from philosophers, texts and historical archives, and original music in a solo theatre performance exploring how memory is transmitted and communicated after trauma, and what it means to carry on a legacy. I’ve already begun the process, most of the interviews are transcribed. I’m currently working on mid-stage draft, incorporating music, media and art into my work. 

My Uncle Morris Schachne sample audio recording:

Read his transcribed Oral History Interviews here

Listen to Part One of my Grandfather’s audio recording:

Listen to Part Two of my Grandfather’s audio recording:

Read this recording, which I’ve completely transcribed, here

Read the full oral histories here.

 

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Jane Adler: This picture was taken June 24, 1956, my parent’s wedding. Left to Right: Benjy, Betty, Rudy, grandpa and Grandma Schachne, Helene and Morris, Hannah, Izzy, Sara. Front of Hannah are Marilyn and Lenny, than Gilda and Melvyn

 

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Brief Summary:

  • After almost losing her own life at 18, a granddaughter seeks to understand her grandmother’s own suffering at 18, as a holocaust survivor, reflecting on the hostility her grandmother was met with after surviving Auschwitz, and the lack of understanding or tolerance for traumatized individuals in society.  Unable to live fully when traumatized, the granddaughter yearns to understand how her grandmother felt, even when embraced by family, and seeks to answer how she herself can live a full life after trauma.  When does the “other” become the “non-other”, and can it happen to late to ever heal?  As she attempts to understand her grandmother, she finds clarity in her own self and healing process, and is able to make her own self less “other”.

Relevant Writings

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Waking up in Surgical ICU, I lost all trust in myself. When I learned my grandmother had died while I was in a coma, I was too numb to cry, and lost trust in the world. When I finally allowed myself to feel, I also allowed her memory to re-entered my life. As I remembered her, I reassembled the “members” and memories of my own life, and rediscovered trust in myself and the world.  My mother, who slept by my side in the ICU, went through this journey with me.  We form generations of strong women. 

And as I learned from these oral histories, there were many strong women even before us.

My Grandma’s Survival

 As a skilled seamstress, my grandmother survived the camps when forced by the Nazis to sew their uniforms. Emigrating to Brooklyn, sewing became her livelihood. How is creativity an anchor to oneself, a roadmap through adversity and a lifeline through trauma? 

I’ll never know what my grandmother – who was my embodiment of childhood, faith and identity – endured, but I do know what it’s like to feel displaced from identity.  Our families, our relationships can serve as the most potent anchors back to ourselves when our world darkens overnight.

I plan on exploring multiple mediums, including music, visual art, genealogy, dance, archived recordings, historical documents, to bring this vivid story to life in innovative ways to bring her spirit to the stage.

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This explain. the 3 listings of deported people from MECHELEN Elias Schachne 1874-1sept1942 Amelia Goldfinger Descendants of elias Schachne 1 elias Schachne b: 10 avril 1874 in Sanok 65 KM SW Przemysl Poland d: in Auschwitz.convoi VII/654 du 1 Septembre 1942 Malines .. +Amélia Goldfinger b: 15 avril 1875 d: in Auschwitz.convoi VII/655 du 1 Septembre 1942 Malines 2 Rachel Serl Cécile Schachne b: 26 avril 1900 in Sanok 65 KM SW Przemysl Poland d: Abt. 1942 in déporté en France …. +yeshaya Blatt b: 15 juillet 1904 in Debice, Poland m: Abt. 1920 d: Abt. 1942 in déporté en France … 3 Henriette Chaja Blatt b: Abt. 1931 Phone: 00972 46548015 E-mail: haya_c@@yifat.org.il ……. +husband chaja Cohen Phone: 00972 46548015 2 havah eva Schachne b: Abt. 1902 in Sanok 65 KM SW Przemysl Poland d: Abt. 1993 in Antwerpen Belgium …. +henri Schwartz 2 Jacques jacob Schachne b: 7 juillet 1912 in Berchem-Antwerpen diamantaire d: 26 décembre 2001 in Antwerpen Belgie Shomre Hadas, Parc O/14/29 Phone: Joodse Rusthuis 03 2867670 …. +jeannine Grymonprez Phone: Joodse Rusthuis 03 2867670 … 3 henriette Grymonprez Phone: Joodse Rusthuis 03 2867670

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  • How does trauma pass through generations?
  • How does a family recall memory?
  • How can piecing together narratives across generation set a spirit free?

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The story of my grandmother was published in the GLAMOUR Magazine article, “Immigrant Families Are What This Country Was Built On”, on January 13th, 2017:

“An estimated 40 percent of Americans can trace their lineage through Ellis Island, America’s first federal immigration center. In honor of its 125th anniversary this month, three women—all of whom had family members pass through there—share what their immigrant heritage means to them. The stories they recount here have been pieced together by talking to their family members and through their own research and are accurate to the best of their knowledge.”

“My grandmother immigrated to New York after being released from Auschwitz.”

http://www.glamour.com/story/immigrant-families-ellis-island

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ITSIG MOSHE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST SCHACHNE OF JASIENICA-ROSIELNA WHO WENT TO THE STATES FROM MOTHER BLECHNER Will look for More détails With this foto and with the foto of Majer family and Frojim Philippe foto I started My Genealogy of the SCHACHNE S IN THE STATES And you can START your Story ! AT LEAST ONE OF THE FIRST CHAPTERS OF YOUR STORY From where they come.Why they went How and when they managed to come ! Of course this is only our closest family and there is much More Later….. Look at your notes what should also come first

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For no real particular reason, I started researching my own family tree, especially since now I will be joined to someone else’s. I’m so excited about that. I also really want to know where I come from ( like REALLY come from) it would be nice to know what my great grandparents lives were like and so on. I’m not expert at this at all, and I’m not sure yet how I will tie it all together or maybe I will just write it down in a book for my memories but I found this from your mom. I did a few of my moms relatives, a few of my dads and then I tried to look for Matt. I knew your moms name was Hannah stochel and from there I found info on her parents and so on. Are her parents malvina and meier? Also found on Matt’s dads side Ruth oestreichers and William? Would that be his grandparents? This is totally not urgent. I just was looking stuff up on ancestry.com. You can find so many cool things! I found this document: I am Hoping it is your moms actual handwriting. If that’s her, then that’s her actual immigration form when she came to the USA! I’m really curious to know if it’s her 🙂 Love u, Alisa

grandma

Isi was born in Antwerp

A Shtetl Called Dukla

Welcome to Dukla and Jewish Genealogy! Dukla is located in the southern part of Poland, at latitude 49° 34´, longitude 21° 41´. Although the town began in Poland, it was part of of Galicia (an Imperial Province of the Austrian Empire) from 1776 to1919.

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Top left. My father Schachne Nissan next. Froim and his wife. Top right avrahom and wife son of Israel Isroel first son of gfather Samuel Bottom left family foto of Majer Malvina Malca and their children. Next Mozes Moche Schachne cousin from jasieni.ca. Next Eisig Schachna cousin.

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morris

 

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Read Uncle Morris’ Stories here.

Irving Stochel’s Side of the Family

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My grandfather Irving, his brother Harry and half-brother Nat

 

 

 

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