One woman’s coming of age; Felicia Graber

Felicia Graber survived WW II in hiding in Poland and later fled to Western Europe. She immigrated to the U.S. with her husband, where she earned two college degrees. She raised two children, taught school, and became a speaker and writer about the Holocaust, as well as a leader in the Jewish community. This is her story of Coming of Age.

“I was born in Poland a few months after the German invasion. I survived the war posing as a Catholic with my mother. Like most child survivors, I always was a ‘very good girl.’ In my mother’s words, I never gave her any trouble. This obedience lasted throughout my growing up years.

At nineteen, I married a U.S. army chaplain 9 years my senior. I always looked up to him as being far superior to me in intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. My goal in life was to be his support system and helper.

From the mid-1960s on, however, I started to assert my own needs, ideas, and wishes. I still deferred to him most of the time and always stayed in the background as he became a community leader. It was not until my retirement in 1996 and his in 1997 that I started on my path as a speaker, writer and community leader. Now our roles are almost reversed, I am in the public eye, serve on various committees and he has become my support system.”