Cirla Lewis lived through the Holocaust years of the Second World War in Belgium, where she was hidden by Catholics. Her recollections of those years are as an innocent Jewish child, incapable of appreciating the enormity of the tragedy unfolding around her.
Seen through her eyes, the events described took on a dreamlike quality which made them all the more disturbing. Her family’s attempted escape to England ended in failure when they reluctantly returned to Belgium where their previously happy life dramatically unravelled.
Her father was ordered to “work for the Reich”. Her grandparents were taken away by the Gestapo and their home boarded up. Cirla, her mother and aunts were forced to go into hiding and spent the remainder of the war living in secret with others seeking to avoid detection by the Nazis.
Sheltered by courageous people, who put their own lives at risk to help others in need, the fear of discovery was always present. We can appreciate their joy at being liberated when the war ended. However, they vividly remember the truth that Cirla’s beloved father and grandparents were among those deported to Auschwitz, where they were killed.
Cirla Lewis works as a Holocaust Educator at the Imperial War Museum, in London.
Her book can be purchased from Woodfield Publishing Ltd
She can be contacted at: Cirla Lewis.