Louise Sommers’s life ‘an important Holocaust story about survival, continuity’

By Ken Turetzky

Safely settled in 1941 with her father and sister in the U.S., 16-year-old Louise Sommers wrote, “The day after my seventh birthday, my mother suddenly died. Since then, things have never been the same.

“It seems that with my mother’s death, a chain of misfortune started. Hitler came to power and my uncle was beaten up, put into prison by the Nazis and later fled to France….Terrible things happened in Germany.”

Louise’s daughter Nancy Sommers found Louise’s youthful autobiography a few years ago and shared this excerpt as guest speaker for “Creating Light From Darkness and Optimism out of Tragedy”, the third annual Yom HaShoah event May 5 at UHC to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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Dr. Nancy Sommers to honor her mother, Louise, as Yom HaShoah keynote speaker at UHC

By Terry Fear

Dr. Nancy Sommers, a native of Terre Haute and former member of United Hebrew Congregation, will be keynote speaker for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at UHC.

Her subject will be “My Mother’s Story — Creating Light from Darkness and Optimism out of Tragedy”. Dr. Sommers’s mother is longtime UHC member Louise Levite Sommers, a Holocaust survivor and resident of Terre Haute.

The program is sponsored by UHC and CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

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Celebrants fill Vestry Room for Passover seder

A record crowd for the Terre Haute diaspora era of more than 50 people filled the Vestry Room for the annual community Passover seder Friday, April 19, at United Hebrew Congregation.

Herschel Chait led Kabbalat Shabbat in the sanctuary and, adorned in seasonal matzoh tie and kippah, shared seder-hosting duties with Temple president Betsy Frank.

Listen to audio and view photos from the event, and check out Chistina’s Best Charoses recipe!

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Rwanda survivor Emmanuel Habimana speaks at UHC, calls for resistance, resilience, respect

As mounting instances of identity-based violence arouse memories of historic, mass atrocities, alarmed communities across the U.S. increasingly counter with public vigils and calls for peaceful resolution to conflict.

Here in Terre Haute, UHC’s sanctuary provides a welcoming venue for such events. On April 7, the 25th anniversary of the day Rwanda’s Hutu majority unleashed a genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority, UHC welcomed survivor Emmanuel Habimana and the Terre Haute South Vigo High School STAND club to present a special program entitled #TogetherWeRemember.

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