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March 22, 2013

Evie’s Story: “If Hitler Didn't Kill Me, You Will”

Evie and her beloved dog
March is Women’s History Month and in honor, the SAGE Blog will feature relevant LGBT aging stories every Friday. Read the other posts by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Evie is an older Jewish lesbian living in New York City. Her parents are Holocaust survivors and because of their hardships and history, they instilled in her the key messages of acceptance and social awareness. So when Evie came out to her mother at age 23, she was shocked when her mother spit on the floor and said to her, “If Hitler didn’t kill me, you will.” It’s been 40 years since this moment, yet there has been slow progress in Evie’s relationships with her family. “There has been little tolerance in my family about me coming out…The very lesson they ingrained in me, they could not do themselves.”

Listen to Evie’s story now.

View pictures of Evie. 

Want to share your story? Visit the SAGE Story site to learn how.


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You are indeed a courageous woman, Evie, standing up for who you are in the face of the attitudes of not only your family, but also, unfortunately, much of our society at large. You also show great character in being able to forgive your family for not being able to follow their own advice to you.

God bless.

What an amazing story. To think that parents who faced such harsh discrimination themselves would be so hard to their own daughter. I'm sure there is more to the story that needs to be told and I'm sure others as well as myself would love to hear it.

Incredible story - well told and such an important message. That people could survive the cruelest, most inhuman treatment, teach their children the importance of social justice for all, and toss that all out the window when it comes to a gay daughter. There is so much that needs to be learned and shared about this, and your story needs to be written and told and heard by everyone. Please stay strong and keep talking!

This is really an incredible story. Your mother survived the cruelest, most inhuman conditions, raised her children to be sensitive to injustice and rascism, and then tossed the whole message of tolerance and acceptance out the window when it comes to her own daughter. This is one of the most painful illustrations of homophobia I can imagine. This story needs to be told and retold, everywhere you can. It is so moving and so relevant. Thank you for telling this, Evie. Please, stay strong and keep on talking! So many people can learn from your experience.

I am profoundly moved, and saddened, to hear Evie's story. I am moved in part because, despite the negative response of Evie's family to her coming-out, she appears not to have wavered in her conviction to be true to herself, and to speak her own truth without apology. I am saddened, not only because of the suffering Evie's parents endured as Holocaust survivors- but because they have completely missed the connection between their own, and Evie's experience as an oppressed individual. Her family in unable (so far) to 'walk the walk' or be able to get past their own ignorance and prejudice about LGBTQ persons. It seems they are essentially doing similar harm to Evie as was done to them as teenagers. It makes me wonder how they rationalize this hatred, and why they can't see their own hypocrisy.

Dreadful to be rejected by a family for a life choice and ignoring the wonderful, loving person that you are. Amazing that your mom, persecuted for her life choice, chooses to inflict the same pain on you. That your mom suffered through the holocaust and learned so little is the heartbreak. You are a strong woman to find a way to look squarely at his behavior and declare it so unjust.

What an important story to have shared with others, and what a tortured past your parents endured. Despite your mother's and brother's responses to you coming out, no doubt you are a better person because of these strong individuals. As you pointed out, mistreatment and not being accepted for what you are by those who should love you unconditionally are closely-related. Thank you for conveying this important message, from which all of us can learn, benefit and grow.

It is sad that your mother and brother "chose" not to have a relationship with you. They are the ones who lost out. Hearing your mother had to hurt to your core as you were being honest and your few short words changed your family dynamics. How your mother forgot what being held in a concentration camp felt like, just for being a jew, is incorrigible. There are many Evie's out there and your story will help everyone who walks in your shoes.

It is sad that your mother and brother "chose" not to have a relationship with you. They are the ones who lost out. How your mother forgot what being held in a concentration camp felt like, just for being a jew, is incorrigible. There are many Evie's out there and your story will help everyone who walks in your shoes.

Thank you for sharing this very touching personal story. It raises many questions. Why would Holocaust victims show such intolerance and cause such pain to their own daughter? Was it ignorance? Was it the times in which you came out? Would they have reacted differently if the situation occurred in the 90's? Do we expect too much of holocaust victims? There is much to learn, question and discuss when hearing your story. I really appreciate the opportunity the opportunity to hear your story.

I guess we all have demons, and part of your reason of being who you are is to have your parents face theirs.

Thank you so much for sharing your moving story. I admire your courage and strength in the face of painful rejection by your family.

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