Helen Bennett

"We must never forget and never give up hope!"

Name at birth
Helen Fruchter
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Name of father, occupation
Emil Fruchter, Diamond cutter
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Maria Klein, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, Mariette, me, and Simon Joseph
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
Myself and maternal and paternal aunts and uncles
I was born in Belgium in 1937. From the age of 4 until 8, I was away from my family with other Jews who were strangers to me. We seemed to float from place to place through Europe just a step ahead of the Nazis. 

At one point, I ended up in France. Once of my aunts left me at a French convent with Father Bruno, who was also from Belgium. When the Nazis came too close to the convent I had to go back to Belgium. 

I was then taken by a Jewish woman and her husband who pretended that I was their daughter, and they took me to Switzerland. This was arranged and paid for by my aunt. We took the train to Switzerland, but when we arrived, I ended up in a refugee camp, alone.  Eventually I was sent to a foster home, to the home of a poor farming family. They treated me well and kept me safe until the end of the war.

My parents came to the United States first.  They sent for us children later.

Where were you in hiding?
In convents, farms, and an orphanages.
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My parents had already settled here
Occupation after the war
Social worker
When and where were you married?
Ronald Bennett (ex-husband), Neurologist- brain diagnostician
Denice, advertising sales representative Miriam, computers (deceased) Sharon, music teacher Ruth, sales, drummer (deceased)
Three: Daniel, Nina and Samantha
What do you think helped you to survive?
Hope, fantasy, spirit, my aunts, Bobika, and never being found while I was in hiding as well as the kindness of strangers
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
We must never forget and never give up hope!
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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