CHICAGO – Seven siblings who survived the Holocaust and ended up in Chicago had a documentary about their lives previewed in Logan Square Thursday.
The Weber family’s name is in lights and prominently displayed on the marquee at the Logan Theatre. It is a sharp contract from their arrival in Chicago 75 years ago.
The seven siblings had survived the horrors of World War II in Nazi Germany. The siblings all established residency in Chicago in Hyde Park, thanks to the Chicago Jewish
Three of the four remaining siblings, Ruth, 90, Gertrude, 89, and Ginger, 81, sat together to reflect on their extraordinary experience.
“it was a sad time, what can I tell you?,” reflected Ginger Lane.
Of the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, one million were children, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
But thousands survived by hiding. Among them were the seven Weber siblings; Alfons, Senta, Ruth, Judith, Renee, Gertrude and Bela.
Thursday is the 75th anniversary of the day that they arrived in Hyde Park after spending two years avoiding the murderous cruelty of Nazi Germany.
“I didn’t know why my mother was taken,” Ginger Lane said.
In 1943, farmers Arthur and Paula Schmidt took in the Weber children and hid them on their land about 40 miles east of Berlin.
“They were living in a laundry hut on a farm – seven people children in this laundry hut, there’s no cooking, running water, lice ridden, feral children,” filmmaker Beth Lane said.
While the children were totally vulnerable, the farmers also assumed extrodinary risks.
“They didn’t ask for anything of us. They saved our lives because anyone walking down the street could be taken into custody,” Ruth Gilliana said.
When they arrived in Chicago, the siblings were split up in foster case – but life seemed renewed.
“The most important thing – the fear was gone. I wasn’t afraid anymore that someone would pick me off the streets and send me to a camp,” Ruth Gilliana said.
A special preview for the film, called “Would You Hide Me?” is playing at the Logan Theatre.
“Even though there aren’t that many of us left, we’re dying out, the story continues to have relevance today, there is anti-Semitism which is on the rise, the white supremacy movement has always been there, but it’s on the rise,” Ginger Lane said.