Holocaust survivors can have a difficult time talking about what they experienced during World War II. However, this can leave their descendants wondering what happened to their relatives and how it impacted them. This is what happened to Jessica Shaw. She had been told that her father Henri had escaped France as a child by climbing over the Pyrenees Mountains with his mother and younger sister into Spain, where he reunited with his father. The family journeyed through Spain, Portugal, and Cuba before they ended up in the United States. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Shaw made the decision to recreate her father’s journey, which she wrote about in The New York Times. Along the way, Jessica discovered that most of what she knew of her father’s escape from France was wrong.
Join the Museum for a program exploring Shaw’s journey. Jessica will be in conversation with her sister, Dr. Laura Shaw Frank, the American Jewish Committee’s Director of Contemporary Jewish Life. They will discuss the broader history of the Holocaust in France, what it means to be the children of a Holocaust survivor, and the cost of not asking difficult questions about family history.
This program is made possible through the generosity of SNCF America, Inc.
Jessica Shaw is a journalist and the host of The Pop Culture Spotlight, a daily audio show about entertainment on SiriusXM.
Dr. Laura Shaw Frank is the director of the American Jewish Committee’s William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department. A passionate proponent of joyful and resilient Judaism, Laura lectures and writes widely on issues of importance to American Jewry. Laura holds a PhD in Jewish history from the University of Maryland, College Park, and undergraduate and law degrees from Columbia University.