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May 12, 2016 4:20 pm

Fashion Designer Diane von Furstenberg Says She Is ‘Torch of Freedom’ for Holocaust Survivor Mother

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg said she serves as a "torch of freedom" for her mother. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg said she serves as a “torch of freedom” for her mother. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Famed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg said on Tuesday night that she sees herself as a “torch of freedom” for her mother, who survived the Holocaust.

“I still to this day cannot believe my own mother was there,” said the Jewish fashion icon at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, where she was being honored at its 20th Annual Heritage Dinner.

Von Furstenberg’s mother, Liliane Nahmias, who was of Greek-Jewish descent, was involved in resistance efforts against the Nazis and helped Jews get counterfeit papers, according to JTA. She was arrested in Belgium and shipped to Auschwitz in May 1944. She survived the Nazi death camp and was liberated 13 months later, according to The Wall Street Journal. She weighed just 49 pounds when she returned home at the end of World War II.

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Nahmias later married Leon Halfin, a Romanian Jew who hid in Switzerland during the war. Their daughter, Diane, was born in late 1946.

Von Furstenberg also told the event attendees about her preoccupation with the Nazi genocide saying, “All I read is books on the Holocaust; all I see is movies about the Holocaust,” adding that sometimes her friends poke fun at her for this.

Copies of the designer’s 2014 memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, were available at the event. Von Furstenberg explained why, though she carries a sultry look in the photo on the cover of the American version of the book, her expression is different in the picture on the front jacket of the German translation.

“I look at the Germans straight in the eyes,” she said. “Just like my mother said to.”

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  • Ms Von Furstenberg is not unusual for a child of Holocaust Survivors, we are all obsessed with the miracle of being here after what our parents went through and survived, many of us end up going into fields that assist other victims of trauma. I too cannot get enough of reading other’s stories of survival, each one is a potential Spielberg feature film. thank you Diane for continuing to keep alive the Memory of the victims of the Shoah, histories most barbaric genocide of all time.

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    The problem with the Jews they are blinded. They vote according to their affiliation instead of voting to the best person who will do the job. It used to be the Democrats who care about the country but they turn to be some progressive, they are almost communists. Just a reminder: it took 70 years to find out that the regime wasn’t working. Plenty of Russians emmigrated to the USA, I can garrantee you that none of them vote for the Democrat. I know that because my buillding is full of them.

    • You are 100% right and as a Jew I am ashamed of those Jews. Liberalism has taken over their Judaism and those are the type of Jews voted for Hitler.

  • Yes

  • Isahiah62

    she is a typical lib lefty HYPOCRITE-thinks she supports Israel yet voted DEM, the party trying to destroy it

    Announced that NO Republican even shop at her new store (we won’t)- so a BIGOT BIASED Ignorant person as well
    lame old designs too- a has-been selling re-treads of her wrap dresses

    with Jews like these, who needs enemies?

  • Fraide

    If I read this article correctly, Diane Furstenberg is Jewish. Yes?

    • Beatrice Scheinbaum

      YES! And I understand her need to read everything available about the Holocaust. I do the same.

    • Yes

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