A Grandmother's Holocaust Story Leads To A Book: Writer To Speak In Norwalk

NORWALK, Conn-- Yvette Manessis Corporon is a three-time Emmy Award-winning writer, author and producer at NBC's "EXTRA" who tells other people's stories for a living. But when it came time to tell her own, it took a while.

Yvette Manessis Corporon has written a new book, "Something Beautiful Happened."
Yvette Manessis Corporon has written a new book, "Something Beautiful Happened." Photo Credit: Submitted

The result is revealed in her new book, "Something Beautiful Happened," which she will speak about on Monday, Nov. 6 at Congregation Beth El (109 East Ave.) in Norwalk. The 7:30 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

The Westchester, N.Y., resident grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of Erikousa, a small Greek island, 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.

She used part of her Ya-Ya's story (her grandmother was among those who helped hide the family) in her 2014 debut novel, "When The Cypress Whispers." When that small part of the story hit a chord — both within herself and her readers — she knew she had an obligation to delve deeper.

"Something Beautiful Happened," details her journey to find the Savvas descendants and to give recognition to the beloved Greek island her father and grandmother grew up on.

The book, released Sept. 12, takes readers on a globe-trotting journey across the U.S — Manessis Corporon spoke with a host of Holocaust survivors who knew the girls her grandmother helped save -- as well as to Greece and Israel, where the Savvas descendants live.

Her tearful reunion with the family — many had no idea about the Erikousa story — was proof to the Yonkers author 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 attack. Despite her best hopes, she was forced to confront the fact that 70 years after the Nazis were defeated, it was still happening today.

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