We Share the Same Sky

 

Chapter VI: I’m Going to Jump
In this episode, we learn about Hana’s life in Sweden during the final years of the war. We then turn focus to the story of Moudi, a 27-year-old Syrian basketball player who sought refuge in Denmark after he was forced to flee his home in Damascus. (includes strong language)
Learning Objectives:
  • Understand some of the factors that led to the end of World War II, including the invasion of Normandy, liberation of concentration camps, and Hitler’s suicide.
  • Make connections between the experiences of Jewish refugees after the Holocaust and Syrian refugees today.
  • Identify what it means to be an upstander at the community and society levels.
  • Hana remained in Sweden during the final two years of the war. She again started over with no money and no contacts. In her testimony given to USC Shoah Foundation, Hana said, “What did women become? School teachers, nurses, nannies? So I started applying to nursing schools and I was accepted in one hospital for free tuition if I did the manual chores. Which I did. I cleaned the hallways. I cleaned the instruments. I cleaned the toilets. I stayed there to get a nursing education.” <br/><br/>Photo courtesy of <i>We Share The Same Sky</i> archive. Hana remained in Sweden during the final two years of the war. She again started over with no money and no contacts. In her testimony given to USC Shoah Foundation, Hana said, “What did women become? School teachers, nurses, nannies? So I started applying to nursing schools and I was accepted in one hospital for free tuition if I did the manual chores. Which I did. I cleaned the hallways. I cleaned the instruments. I cleaned the toilets. I stayed there to get a nursing education.”

    Photo courtesy of We Share The Same Sky archive.
  • When the war ended Hana returned to Denmark and saved up enough money to fly back to Prague to see who was left. As she told USC Shoah Foundation in her testimony, “There were really two plans. One was to become something. Somebody. And two was to go back and see who’s left. And maybe show that I became somebody.” She didn’t stay in Czechoslovakia long and returned to Scandinavia. She lived in Sweden until 1950 when she immigrated to the United States. <br/><br/>Photo courtesy of <i>We Share The Same Sky</i> archive. When the war ended Hana returned to Denmark and saved up enough money to fly back to Prague to see who was left. As she told USC Shoah Foundation in her testimony, “There were really two plans. One was to become something. Somebody. And two was to go back and see who’s left. And maybe show that I became somebody.” She didn’t stay in Czechoslovakia long and returned to Scandinavia. She lived in Sweden until 1950 when she immigrated to the United States.

    Photo courtesy of We Share The Same Sky archive.
  • During the years of Rachael’s research, a refugee crisis emerged and the number of displaced persons in the world surpassed the numbers set after World War II for the first time in recorded history. In 2015 alone, more than one million people sought refuge in Europe and Sweden, for many, was the destination they most hoped for -- just like during World War II. This staggering statistic led Rachael to work with refugees in Scandinavia seeking refuge today. In this photograph, a young Afghan refugee who arrived to Sweden in 2015 at the age of 11 with his twin brother, talks to his mother on the phone using the free-calling app, Viber. His mother and older sisters remained in Iraq where the family first found refuge after being forced to flee Afghanistan. Their father went missing at the Afghan-Iraqi border when the men were separated from the women and children. Since the picture was taken, the family has been reunified in Sweden. <br/><br/>Photo by Rachael Cerrotti, 2017 During the years of Rachael’s research, a refugee crisis emerged and the number of displaced persons in the world surpassed the numbers set after World War II for the first time in recorded history. In 2015 alone, more than one million people sought refuge in Europe and Sweden, for many, was the destination they most hoped for -- just like during World War II. This staggering statistic led Rachael to work with refugees in Scandinavia seeking refuge today. In this photograph, a young Afghan refugee who arrived to Sweden in 2015 at the age of 11 with his twin brother, talks to his mother on the phone using the free-calling app, Viber. His mother and older sisters remained in Iraq where the family first found refuge after being forced to flee Afghanistan. Their father went missing at the Afghan-Iraqi border when the men were separated from the women and children. Since the picture was taken, the family has been reunified in Sweden.

    Photo by Rachael Cerrotti, 2017