Tswi Herschel was born December 29, 1942 in Zwolle, a small town in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. In January 1943, the family was forced to leave Zwolle and moved to the Jewish ghetto in Amsterdam, where Tswi’s father contacted non-Jewish Dutch friends and asked them to help his newborn son. In March 1943, a Protestant Dutch family – the de Jonghs – took in baby Tswi, caring for him and raising him as their own child until the end of the war, when liberation came at the hand of the Canadians. Tswi’s parents were transported to the transit camp of Westerbork in the Netherlands in June 1943, and were deported to the extermination camp of Sobibór, where they were murdered shortly after arrival. Tswi’s grandmother, his only surviving relative, took him from his foster family after the war in order to give him a Jewish education and identity, which was a difficult transition for the young Tswi. Tswi grew up, married and had two daughters, and in 1986 immigrated to Israel. Since 1991, Tswi Herschel has told his story to young people and adults in Israel and Europe, sharing his wisdom on matters historical and personal. He met with Crestwood students over zoom in February 2021 – we thank Yad Vashem for facilitating this.
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