Mar 5 2020

School visits 2020

It's that time of the year... Eighth-graders learn about the Holocaust in the spring, and I find myself hopping from school to school. Yesterday, my mother and I spoke at Hubble Middle School in Warrenville, IL. We have had the privilege of presenting to Hubble students for the last three years. Thanks to librarian Kristin Diaz for her determination in educating students on this important topic.
Mar 15 2019

Living with her past

Students have changed my mother. At school speeches, they have listened to her story of fleeing Nazi Germany at 12 all by herself. They have asked her tough questions: What did you do? Why do you blame yourself? How could you think your parents didn't love you? They have born witness and have helped her to live more comfortably with her past.
Jan 23 2019

FSC presents at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock IL

Last Thursday, as part of the Woodstock Fine Arts Association Creative Living Series, award-winning author Fern Schumer Chapman captivated the audience with an inspiring presentation. Fern shared the emotional story of her mother, Edith Westerfeld, who painfully fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and journeyed to America as an unaccompanied minor refugee. Fern then described Edith’s return to her small German hometown in 2014 to witness the installation of a memorial ...
Jun 26 2018


At the age of 12, Gerda Katz fled Nazi Germany and came to America all by herself. Decades before the label gained recognition, she became what's now know as an "unaccompanied minor." Gerda's story of family separation reflects the dislocating trauma, culture shock, and excruciating loneliness many unaccompanied minor immigrants experience. As Gerda becomes an American, she never stops longing to be reunited with her family. Three Stars in the ...
Apr 13 2018

If you are estranged from a sibling…

Please participate in the survey for my next book. Your privacy is protected. My interest in this topic is rooted in my personal story; my older brother and I didn’t talk to each other for most of my adult life. Over time, we did reconcile, and that journey has prompted many questions. Often, I’ve wondered about the nature of these relationships and, in particular, when and how they break down, ...
Oct 24 2017

Jewish Book Council reviews STUMBLING ON HISTORY

Stumbling on History: An Art Project Compels a Small German Town to Face Its Past Fern Schumer Chapman Gussie Rose Press  2016 54 Pages    $17.99 ISBN: 978-0996472517   Review by Teri Markson This slender book is both a memory and a memorial, a tribute and a warning, a look at what is and what was. Author Fern Schumer Chapman first recounts the experience of her German born mother, 89-year-old Edith ...
Jun 21 2015

Finding her voice…

  After decades of silence about her family history, Edith, at 90, tells her story at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center of coming to America alone as a 12-year-old girl. This year, she decided to become a docent at the Skokie, IL museum.
Apr 9 2015

Another sneak peek at my new book!

  Here's another look at a spread from my NEW narrative non-fiction book for upper elementary and middle school students, "LIKE FINDING MY TWIN: How an Eighth Grade Class Reunited Two Holocaust Refugees." This is in the beginning section of the book, which focuses on the friendship between Gerda and Edith. Copies will be available in June. I'll post more spreads in coming weeks. You can reserve a copy now ...
Sep 12 2013

Stockstadt decides to lay stumbling stones to memorilize my grandparents

Here is part of the article that ran in the German newspaper, RIED ECHO, on September 12, 2013:   MUNICIPALITY PARLIAMENT Stockstädter decides to lay stumbling blocks against forgetting STOCKSTADT. The Community Council decided Tuesday that Stumbling Stones will be laid in memory of those deported during the Nazi regimes. Bürgermeister Thomas Ra Herschel (CDU) had expected a controversial discussion in April, but his the Council voted in unity. No ...
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