Hands belong to daughter Elaine Myron.
Born April 14, 1932 | Brussels, Belgium
Died January 20, 2022 | Calgary, Canada
Alyse remained forever grateful to the Block family, who opened their home and hearts to her and her sister, helping them to begin their new lives in Canada.
By the time the Nazis invaded Belgium in May 1940, Cella and Itseck Swartzpelc’s eight-year-old daughter Alyse and her 10-year-old sister Rachelle had been taken by their father to a home for Jewish children. Later that year, as they rounded up Jewish citizens, the Nazis came even for the children, taking them to the Malines transit camp. From there they would, no doubt, have been sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. Alerted to the dire situation, the Queen Mother of Belgium successfully intervened, demanding and securing the safe return of the children. Alyse and her sister were subsequently given Flemish names and sent to a convent in Ghent, where they were given daily catechism classes. The underground later moved Alyse and her sister to various hiding places, including a Christian children’s home where they safely remained until liberation.
The only surviving members of their immediate family, Alyse and Rachelle were two of approximately 1,100 Jewish children permitted to immigrate to Canada in 1948, thanks to the War Orphans program sponsored by the Canadian Jewish Congress. The sisters were placed with Calgarians Rebecca and Peter Block and their daughter Martha (later Cohen), who became like family to them. Alyse met Holocaust survivor Bill Schwartz at a mixer for newly arrived Holocaust survivors held at the Block home. The couple wed in 1951 and had two daughters, Shelley and Elaine. In the fullness of time, Alyse became Bubbie to three grandsons.
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