Suzanne Berliner Weiss is a lifelong organizer, whose passage to activism began in Vichy France under Nazi rule. In her highly readable memoir, Holocaust to Resistance: My Journey, Weiss recounts her life in France and the people who saved her from Hitler’s slaughter.
As a hidden child in Auvergne in south-central France, Suzanne lived with a farm family who were loathe to give her up once her father, after surviving the war, returned to retrieve her. Shortly afterwards, her father died.
From here, Weiss begins a life of movement from one place to another. We follow her from France to New York City to California to Cuba to New Orleans and back and forth until Suzanne eventually ends up in Toronto. Through each of these locations we watch as Weiss matures into an activist, dedicated to justice for all peoples, including and especially Palestinians. For Suzanne Weiss, Never Again has always been Never Again for Anyone.
Suzanne recounts her life in New York, in a new family, and the difficulties that develop in that arrangement. From these personal struggles, Suzanne finds herself drawn to the political meetings and activities of the late 1950s and early 1960s, when movements were developing, re-developing and converging after McCarthyism. This is history reflected through a personal narrative, which brings the reader directly into the action.
But don’t just see this book as a political tractate. It is a page-turner that brings you in on the journey — a journey from the life Suzanne made for herself on Turtle Island/North America back to her roots in Auvergne, not just physically but politically. We learn briefly about Suzanne’s father and his involvement with the resistance to the Nazis and Vichy, and we also find out more, as Suzanne does, about the community that hid her and many other Jewish children. For Suzanne, the ultimate lesson of her life is that the solidarity that ensured her survival is exactly the solidarity that we need in the current moment. The challenges we all face are immense, but Suzanne Weiss’ book demonstrates that working together, despite our disagreements and differences, we can change things.
Join us this Friday March 13 @ 7:00 p.m. for a talk with Suzanne Berliner Weiss on Jewish Resistance Under Nazi Occupation: Lessons for Today.
This important discussion will take place at:
Wilson Hall, Room 1017, New College, University of Toronto, 40 Willcocks Street.
For more information or to RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.789.5502.