Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of the small Greek island Erikousa hid a Jewish family—a tailor named Savvas and his daughters—from the Nazis during World War II. Nearly 2,000 Jews from that area died in the concentration camps, but even though everyone on Erikousa knew Savvas and his family were hiding on the island, no one ever gave them up, and the family survived the war.
Years later, Corporon couldn’t get the story of the Jewish tailor out of her head. She decided to track down the man’s descendants—and eventually found them in Israel. Their tearful reunion was proof to her that evil doesn’t always win. But just days after she made the connection, her cousin’s child was gunned down in a parking lot in Kansas, a victim of a neo-Nazi out to inflict as much harm as he could. Despite her best hopes, Corporon was forced to confront the fact that 70 years after the Nazis were defeated, their hatred still lived on.
As Corporon and her family wrestled with the tragedy in their own lives, the lessons she learned from the survivors of the Holocaust helped her confront and make sense of the present. In her new memoir, Something Beautiful Happened, the past and present come together in a nuanced, heartfelt story about the power of faith, the importance of kindness, and the courage to stand up for what’s right in the face of great evil.
Corporon will bring her story to Fairfield County on Monday evening, Nov. 6 at Congregation Beth El in Norwalk. The community event is presented by the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County in commemoration of the week of Kristallnacht, a wave of anti-Jewish violence in Nazi Germany and annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia in November 1938 that eventually led to the Holocaust.
Yvette Manessis Corporon is currently a senior producer with the syndicated entertainment news show, EXTRA. In addition to winning three Emmy Awards, she has received several Emmy nominations, a Silurian Award for Excellence in Journalism, and The New York City Comptroller and City Council’s Award for Greek Heritage and Culture. Her debut novel, When the Cypress Whispers, was an international bestseller and has been translated into 14 languages.
Something Beautiful Happened with author Yvette Manessis Corporon: Monday, Nov. 6, 7:30 PM | Congregation Beth El, 109 East Ave., Norwalk | Free and open to the community | Info: shalomct.org / (203) 226-8197