Dori Katz, Holocaust Hideaway, Looks For Her Past

Holocaust Remembrance Week ends on Sunday. Dori Katz has spent a great deal of time searching for her own Holocaust memories.

The part-time resident of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, was born in Belgium shortly before World War II. After her father was arrested in 1942, her mother made the wrenching decision to place her only child into hiding. Among the lucky ones, mother and daughter were reunited four years later, but the subject of her early childhood was off-limits for conversation.

Katz returned to Belgium in 1982 to see what she could learn about her time in hiding – and what had become of her father. Tema Silk asked Katz to describe what it was like when she first came upon the house where she’d been hidden.

Katz, now a retired professor of modern languages and literature at Trinity College in Hartford, recently wrote a memoir about what she learned. It’s called Looking For Strangers.

“I learned, first of all, that I was very loved when I was in hiding,” Katz says. “That the father of the house, who I totally identified with as my own father, was very, very fond of me, and that I was always sitting on his lap. And what I learned, which really I hadn’t thought about, is that when I left and was reunited with my mother and never contacted them again, that they all missed me very much and were worried about me. Because even though Brussels had been liberated, the war was not quite over and they always worried whether I was okay, and wished that they would hear about me. And I had never thought about it from their point of view, and I felt very humbled and very happy that it had been such a good experience.”