Past Event

Like Finding my Twin: How Compassionate Eighth-Graders Reunited Two Holocaust Refugees

A Road Scholar Program by Fern Schumer Chapman

On the ship that brought her from Nazi Germany to America, young Edith Westerfeld met Gerda Katz. Both twelve-year-old girls were traveling alone and immediately became best friends. Unfortunately, the two unaccompanied minors lost touch after their arrival in 1938. Edith Westerfeld settled in Chicago, where she has lived ever since.

Decades later, after a northern Illinois middle-school class read Is It Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman, a historical novel that captures the two girls’ friendship, the students were so moved by the story that they made it a class project to reunite the two women. Fulfilling a shared life-long dream, the two women, now in their 80s, finally saw each other again in Seattle, Washington, in 2011.

This presentation will tell the story of the students’ remarkable work, which has the potential to inspire other Illinois students to develop service learning projects.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Chris Wagner at