Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cipa Widerman-Holland (1922-2015)

Cipa Nicole "Nicky" Widerman, daughter of Maurice Widerman and Berthe Stulman, was born in Warsaw, Poland on 8 November 1922. At the age of 6 months, her family immigrated immigrated to Paris.

Her childhood was spent in an apartment house built for large families like hers on Ile St. Louis in the middle of Paris, with summers at Colleville, later known as Omaha Beach. She and her sister were walking the streets of Paris when a friend told them the Nazis had arrived.

"Suddenly we heard trucks and motorcycles, and we saw green uniforms coming in. We looked at each other and we said it's impossible. We saw our French flag coming down, and putting the swastika up, and everybody was around. We start crying and crying."

As a Jewish" indeterminee" (a person with no nationality), Nicole was included on the list of the first round-up of Jews. At the time, she was working for a doctor, and one day he told her she couldn't go home.

"He came in and said there's going to be a big roundup of Jews tomorrow. They came knocking on every door in the apartment building,"

Nicole escaped to unoccupied France using a Catholic friend's birth certificate, but the rest of her family was taken by the Nazis. She found work in Marsailles and, before long, became a member of the French underground.

Upon her return to Paris, she joined the CAVF, an organization of the former French Underground. Through this job, she searched for lost family members. In 1946 she became a War Bride after her marriage to Bruce Holland. They settled in Texas where she became a naturalized citizen. After Bruce's death, she moved to Arkansas in 1997 to be near her daughters. Nicole passed away Sunday February 15, 2015 in Springdale, Arkansas. The Story of her strength and courage is told in her biography, One of the Lucky Ones, written by her youngest daughter, Brenda Hancock.

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