E/96: Fate Undecided

E/96: Fate Undecided


By Paul-Henri Rips

“‘Don't move. Don't open the door.’ My knees had turned to jelly and I was trembling uncontrollably. Sina grabbed her raincoat and declared, ‘I'm leaving. They'll be back and I don't want to end up in a camp.’”

The son of a diamond merchant in Antwerp’s famous diamond exchange, Paul-Henri Rips was ten years old when the Nazis invaded Belgium in May 1940 and ended what he calls his “golden childhood” forever. Vividly told from a child’s perspective, this fascinating account explores the diverse cast of characters who inhabited Belgium and France during the Nazi occupation and the experiences of one family against the backdrop of large-scale events. Guided throughout by his father’s words of wisdom—“A klapt vargayt, a wort bestayt” (A blow will go away again, but a word lasts forever) and “Sei a mensch” (Be a decent human being)—Rips conveys his unwavering belief in the importance of holding on to one’s own humanity in the face of unfathomable inhumanity.

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About the Author

Paul-Henri Rips was born in 1929, the son of a diamond merchant in Antwerp’s famous diamond exchange. He was ten years old when the Nazis invaded Belgium in May 1940 and ended his golden childhood forever. After the war Paul-Henri Rips continued to live in Antwerp, where he worked in the diamond industry. He left in 1950 and moved to the Belgian Congo for ten years and then to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he met and married his wife, Lily, and their two children were born. In 1997, the couple immigrated to Toronto to join their children and grandchildren, where Paul-Henri lives with his wife.

Product Information

  • Release: June 1, 2009
  • $14.95 Paperback
  • 160 Pages
  • 6 x 9
  • ISBN: 9781897470091

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The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs

Since the end of World War II, over 30,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors have immigrated to Canada. Who they are, where they came from, what they experienced and how they built new lives for themselves and their families is an important part of our Canadian heritage. The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs is guided by the conviction that each survivor of the Holocaust has a remarkable story to tell, and that such stories play an important role in education about tolerance and diversity. Millions of individual stories are lost to us forever. By preserving the stories written by survivors and making them widely available to a broad audience, the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs series seeks to sustain the memory of all those who perished at the hands of hatred, abetted by indifference and apathy. The personal accounts of those who survived against all odds are as different as the people who wrote them, but all demonstrate the courage, strength, wit and luck that it took to prevail and survive in such terrible adversity. The memoirs are also moving tributes to people – strangers and friends – who risked their lives to help others, and who, through acts of kindness and decency in the darkest of moments, frequently helped the persecuted maintain faith in humanity and courage to endure. These accounts offer inspiration to all, as does the survivors’ desire to share their experiences so that new generations can learn from them. Recognizing that most survivor memoirs never find a publisher, the Azrieli Foundation established the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program to collect, archive and publish these distinctive records.