Sunday, September 12, 2010

Foundations: Blanca Tune Shorr

Blanca and Ben in the early years

Name: Blanca Tune Shorr

Spouse: Benjamin Shorr

Birth/Death: 1920-2007

Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

Religion: Jewish

Occupation: Physical Education Teacher and Language Teacher (Blanca spoke German, French, English, some Spanish, and Yiddish)

When Blanca was a young woman, she and her family fled Austria to escape Nazi persecution. They arrived in New York City in 1938 and eventually settled in Los Angeles. The full story of their forced immigration from Austria to America merits its own blog post (which I will happily accommodate in the near future). Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Blanca met her husband-to-be Benjamin Shorr who was, like Blanca, a Jewish immigrant. Ben was from Russia and had been living in Los Angeles with his family for several years before he met Blanca. Ben and Blanca had two children, one of which was my step-dad, Jack.

Blanca was strong, opinionated, athletic, and strict. She had high expectations for herself and for her family. Most poignantly, I think, is Blanca's identity as a survivor and pioneer. She was a woman who left her life in Austria, amidst the growing cancer of antisemitism, to start anew in an alien country and culture. It was a remarkably difficult request life made of her and she handled it with a grace that infused her every cell and movement.

Next Sunday: Foundations with Grandma Hastings (the Italian gypsy grandma)


  1. It still kind of thrills me that we share the same last name. That you too have a Grandma Hastings.

  2. Look at the cuffs on those jeans -- AMAZING!

    I'm going to learn Yiddish so I can start screaming nonsensical phrases at Jonny. Imagine, I'm pretty sure he would hyperventilate.


  3. Matt, we're going to have to pull out that book about George and Laura Bush speaking Yiddish.

    Jon, it thrills me, too. I also like to fake people out. "Yeah, Jon and I are brother and sister....FAKE OUT!"