April 26, 2017: Portraits of Survival

Today I decided to try and work on A LOT of missing work and get as many extra credit points as possible because the end of the year is ending and I am NOT trying to fail this year. So, immediately after school I meet Raphaela at the flag pole and we hop onto the bus. As we’re sitting in our seats, were making our game plan. Go to the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Grab something to eat, and finish my missing work. I’m determined to finish as much work as possible. After we get to the Transit Center, we stroll down Chapala Street for a mile or two until we reach the jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. The first person we encounter is a sweet middle-aged woman. She greets us as we walk in the door and finishes up helping the man before us. She makes us sign in to a log and points us to the room the portraits are held in.

While we were in here, I read a couple amazing stories. One that really stuck with me was the story of Norman Jaffe. He was raised in an upper middle-class family. His mother was an opera star as well as a pianist and his dad owned a 100 year old furniture store. He spent his childhood defending his religion against anti-semitic classmates and had to withstand learning of Nazi Theories in the classroom. On November 9, 1938 his family’s store had its windows’ shattered due to Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). He had also witnessed Nazis’ burning the Dresden Synagogue. He got arrested during Kristallnacht and shortly after his family attempted to emigrate out of the country but could not get enough visas’ in time. In 1942, He was sent to a labor camp and in February of 1943 he was sent to the death camp known as Auschwitz. After four weeks he began to starve and after that seeked somewhere to go. He found a position painting SS homes. He escaped death by gas chambers three separate times because of a couple Christian prisoners. After being liberated by the Soviets in January of 1945, Norman moved to the United States of America and met his wife, Rose, became an American citizen, and finally moved to Santa Barbara after years of working as a Graphic Artist in Los Angeles, CA.

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