Schwemer, Fela

Fela Schwemer is a Holocaust Survivor from Poland.  Fela lost most of her family during the war, as she made her way through a series of camps, where she was used as a slave labourer.  Fela is a powerful storyteller, and her memory for the little details – the bobby pin that she desperately wanted to hold on to – gives students deep insights into the nature of the Shoah, right down to the level of the individual.  When the war came to an end, Fela struggled to put the pieces back together; she married, but lost her first baby.  Time spent in Israel was also difficult, as her husband’s military service continued her anxiety.  Canada would prove to be her salvation there, and she tells the story of her arrival in Montreal with great fondness.

We met Fela at the Baycrest terraces in February 2015, where she was interviewed by Siena deCuia, Isabella Pinto, Andrew Northey and Sidra Fisch.