Belfast Telegraph

Jane Seymour: Spirit can’t be conquered

Jane Seymour felt as if she had “been through hell” while learning her tragic family history.

The 64-year-old actress learned pertinent missing pieces about her family history on an upcoming episode of BBC1’s television show Who Do You Think You Are?

Her paternal grandfather Lewin Frankenberg, a Jewish man, escaped the Holocaust during World War II, having left Poland to set up shop in London.

But Jane knew very little about the relatives who stayed behind on the European mainland during the height of World War II genocide, and what happened with her great aunts Jadwiga and Michaela was a huge mystery until their life narratives were revealed on Who Do You Think You Are?

“This has been the most incredible experience to learn about Jadwiga and Michaela’s stories because in my family were two incredibly strong women who survived against all the odds,” she shared, according to UK newspaper The Mirror. “I just think the fact I had the privilege of following both of their stories and that they found each other in the end... it’s about the indomitable human spirit.

“Emotionally it was a roller-coaster. I felt like I’d been through hell.”

But what happened with Jane’s family following the genocide was equally tragic.

Jadwiga killed herself after she reunited with sister Michaela in Switzerland and Jane has compassion for what her great aunt must have been going through.

“She just felt she had nothing to live for... I’m the daughter of a survivor. My mother went through a Japanese internment camp for three and a half years and I saw the toll that took on her,” Jane explained.

“A lot of my mother’s friends who survived committed suicide afterwards, couldn’t handle survival. The guilt. Why had they made it when others hadn’t? The post-traumatic stress is huge.

“It’s incredibly important to understand what your great-grandparents went through. The message of anti-semitism and of hatred and different cultures and religions is unfortunately a story that still needs to be told because it continues today.”

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From Belfast Telegraph