We all begin life preceded by a family history. For Laurie, her history is woven into a Holocaust story of rescue and survival. As her family explains, if not for this story, there would be no Laurie.
In 1942 a young French couple, Moussa and Odette Abadi---Moussa, a Syrian-born Sorbonne professor, and Odette, a recent medical school graduate---had just relocated from Paris to Nice in southern France when they discovered the fate awaiting fellow Jews in German concentration camps. Moussa rushed to the office of Paul Reymond, Archbishop of Nice, to seek his aid in saving from deportation as many Jewish children as possible who had fled with their families to Nice. The Abadis secured safe lodgings in convents and some private homes for 527 children, arranging for their expenses and necessary papers. At the conclusion of WWII, the Abadis helped the children reunite with surviving family members or, if that was not possible, find homes in orphanages.
Laurie's mother Francoise Bram was one of those fortunate children who owe their lives to Odette and Moussa. Francoise and her sister Paulette lived in a convent until 1945; because their parents had perished, they spent their remaining teen years in a Lyon orphanage, Oeuvres de Secour aux Enfants.
Archbishop Reymond was recognized by the Israeli government as a "Righteous Gentile" for his participation in the Abadi rescue operation. For the Abadis themselves, the French government has recently honored the memory of their bold and selfless work by renaming a site in the 12th arrondissement in Paris after them: "Place Moussa et Odette Abadi." The Abadis, were they still alive, might have noted at the ceremony that their greatest memorial for their efforts is all the successful lives and careers their "children" experienced as adults. Francoise Bram says "I'd like people to know about the Abadis in the United States." Speaking about the enduring relationship among the rescued children and the Abadis, she states "We were not only friends, we were family."
Laurie is the youngest Bram daughter; Sylvie, the eldest, is married and has two grown children. Sylvie assists Francoise and her husband Bert with the care of Laurie, who became a resident of the Hebrew Home in 2000 following a serious car accident. The Brams selected the Home for Laurie because they had raised their daughter in a religiously observant home and believed she would feel most comfortable in a Jewish environment. Francoise notes, with a sense of gratitude, that Rabbi Jim Michaels has extended tremendously kind support to Laurie and the entire family.
At the Home, Laurie has made good friends and taken full advantage of the many recreational activities available to her. In particular she loves beading (she creates special gifts of beaded jewelry for her relatives), Bingo, songwriting and choir. She also relishes her private computer classes with a knowledgeable instructor, Marcia Massey, who volunteers her services to the Home.
While the Hebrew Home has become Laurie's "home," she maintains a strong and loving connection with her devoted parents and extended family.