Holocaust survivor to discuss her experiences at UA Little Rock

Louise Lawrence-Israëls

A Holocaust survivor will speak about her experiences during the Nazi takeover of the Netherlands on Tuesday, April 2, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

The UA Little Rock Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity will host the “Memories of the Holocaust” lecture as part of its “Plain Talk on Race and Ethnicity Lecture Series” in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Arkansas.

Louise Lawrence-Israëls will discuss her experiences as a Jewish toddler in the Netherlands during the imposition of anti-Semitic laws by Nazi Germany at 4 p.m. in the Donaldson Student Services Center Auditorium. A question-and-answer session will follow the talk.

Lawrence-Israëls was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1942. German forces invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and set up a German administration in which Jews were forced to wear a yellow star. By July 1942, Jews from the Netherlands were being deported to the extermination camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor.

When her family was ordered to move to Amsterdam in January 1943, Lawrence-Israëls and her family went into hiding to escape deportation. Her father rented a top floor apartment and acquired false identification papers for the family. After Canadian forces liberated Amsterdam in May 1945, Lawrence-Israëls had difficulty adjusting since she had not been outside while her family remained in hiding.

Lawrence-Israëls earned a degree in physical therapy in the Netherlands. She married Sidney Lawrence, an American medical student, in 1965 and moved to the U.S. in 1967. After Lawrence retired from the U.S. military in 1994, they settled in Bethesda, Maryland. Lawrence-Israëls is a volunteer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Anderson Institute at 501-569-8932 or race-ethnicity@ualr.edu.

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