ASTORIA — Jeannie Smith, daughter of Polish Holocaust rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke, shares her mother’s story at the Astoria Library at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1.
Irene Gut OpDyke (1922-2003) received international recognition for actions she took while employed by a high-ranking German official during World War II. The Israeli Holocaust Commission named her one of the Righteous among the Nations; a title given to those who risked their lives by aiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust. She was presented with the Israel Medal of Honor at Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The Vatican honored OpDyke with a special commendation, and her story is part of a permanent exhibit in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
OpDyke’s only child, Jeannie Smith, is part of a new generation of Holocaust speakers who recount their parents’ firsthand experiences. She is a speaker for Oregon and Washington’s Holocaust Speakers Bureaus, the Anti-Defamation League’s Bearing Witness Program and the Jewish Federation of North America.
The story Smith tells, although filled with the horrors and hate of the Holocaust, also brings a message of faith, love and hope that good can triumph over evil. It proclaims the conviction that one by one we can say no to hatred, persecution and prejudice and make a difference.
The library is at 450 10th St. For information about programs and services, contact 503-325-7323 or visit astorialibrary.org.