In Memory of



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Fanya Gottesfeld Heller was born in Skala on October 14, 1924 and died in New York on October 31, 2017. As a teenager during the Nazi occupation, she survived in hiding at the farm of a Polish peasant and was kept safe by a Ukrainian militiaman with whom she had an affair. She described her wartime experiences in her book, Strange and Unexpected Love: A Teenage Girl's Holocaust Memoirs,[1] later reissued under the title Love in a World of Sorrow.[2] She adapted the book for use by fifth through eighth graders, under the title Hidden: A True Story of the Holocaust.

Mrs. Heller was heavily involved in Holocaust education and was the subject of a documentary about her life and work, entitled Teenage Witness: The Fanya Heller Story.[3] The film has been described as “a raw and emotional look at survival through an unfiltered narrative lens.”[4] Mrs. Heller also underwrote an annual conference on Holocaust education at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and established The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. The Skala Research Group acknowledges with appreciation her generous financial support of projects to reconstruct and protect the Jewish cemetery in Skala and to translate the Skala yizkor book into English.


  1. Ktav Publishing House (1993) Return
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For further information about Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, see:

Text copyrighted by Tony Hausner & Helene Kenvin
This page created by Max Heffler
Updated Nov 3, 2018. Copyright 2005 Skala Research Group. All Rights Reserved.