Marie Doduck was born May 10, 1935 in Brussels, Belgium. She was a young child when the war began, but given the intensity of her experiences, she remembers those early days well. She grew up in a large Jewish family in Brussels, one that had a long history in Poland. When the war came the family was on the move; like many others they fled the blitzkrieg looking for shelter in France. The then four year old Marie remembers the refugees and the chaos, and being under attack by the luftwaffe. Passage to Paris became impossible, so the family returned to Brussels, where her mother made the decision to register the daily with the police, hoping that it might afford them some security. That included wearing the yellow star, which Marie recalls she tore off her clothes when other children made fun of her. Marie’s older siblings – members of the French Underground – did not share their mother’s views, and they arranged for Marie to go into hiding. Marie spent time in convents among other places, and she recalls them as unhappy and sterile places, where she learned not to make friends. On a number of occasions she had to go on the run, always trying to stay one step ahead of potential denunciation. Marie did manage to do that though, and when the end of the war came her spirits were lifted by the liberation: she remembers seeing the soldiers, and feeling that weight taken off her. She was fortunate to reconnect with surviving family after the war; Marie was in an orphanage, as were other siblings, and circumstances and miracles brought them back together. Marie’s postwar journey brought her to Canada. She recalls that those early years were difficult ones, dealing with step-parents, school, a new language, and bullying. She eventually transitioned into her new milieu though, marrying and raising her own family along the way. Holocaust education was not something on her radar in those years though; only later did Marie raise her voice, first through the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and later through the Azrieli Foundation, whose efforts allowed Crestwood students to zoom with Marie in February 2023.
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