Friends of the Library Annual Meeting Tuesday June 21, 2016
The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm by President Diane Martin in the Sharon Lawson room. There were 89 Friends, volunteers, and guests present. Diane welcomed the members, highlighted some of our accomplishments, and thanked the members and volunteers for their support.
Diane reviewed revenues and budgeted expenditures for 2015-2016:
Membership, donations and book sales enabled the Friends to budget ~$70,000 in support of programs, services and equipment in 2015/16. Significant items were desktop computers, Lego robotics with laptop computers, Hot Summer Nights, Shakespeare on the Lawn, and reading programs for all ages. Diane encouraged the guests present to join the Friends, to come to our book sales, and/or drop off books in our collection bins. She said all of these activities are ways to support our wonderful Library.
The membership voted to unanimously accept the slate of candidates for the board for 2016/17. The outgoing board members were recognized, and a plea was made for candidates for our vacant Vice President position. The new board members are:
- Denise Robertson– President
- Vacant - Vice President
- Betty Jo Fowler– Treasurer
- Bob Myers– Secretary
Directors at Large
- Lew Abramson, Dick Burgess, Jane Bennett, Marcy Delozier, Claudia Erwin, Kellie Frazier, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore, Dolores Philpot
Bylaw revisions were unanimously voted in including nominating committee make-up, membership dues to be paid annually, and board expenditures up to $500 okayed between meetings for emergencies.
Bill Beaty, outgoing chair of the Blount County Public Library Board of Trustees, thanked the Friends for their ongoing support. He said the Blount County Public Library is one of the best libraries in the entire state, and the Friends make a significant contribution to its success.
The annual meeting was adjourned at 1:15 pm.
June 21 Board Meeting Speaker Dr. Henry Fribourg: Escape to Freedom
Dr. Fribourg: University of Tennessee retired professor of agronomy and crop management for 44 Years)
Dr Henry A. Fribourg, UT Professor Emeritus and his wife Claudia escaped from Nazi occupied France and Brussels respectively, with their Jewish families during World War II.
Dr. Fribourg presented a very clear pictorial analysis of the German world from 1933 through 1945.He showed how Hitler in 1933 was made a German official, how he rose to power during the depression, and how over the next 12 years said he managed to rid Europe of 13 million Jews, although in Germany there were only 300,000. He pointed out that according to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws if one had only one Jewish grandparent he would be considered Jewish. He showed pictures of the Auschwitz Concentration camp where his grandmother was sent. 500,000 died in gas chambers and the Nazis kept records of those they murdered.
In 2003 Dr Fribourg published his first autobiographical memoir I Gave You LifeTwice (His mother told him this since first she gave birth to him and secondly gave him life because it was on her insistence that the family flee France) and in 2013 his second memoir, Escape to Freedom. In these very detailed, articulate memoirs, he describes his experience as a 12-year old French Jewish boy who with his parents, sister and baby brother, escaped from occupied Europe in January 1942.
In his speech, he relates surviving three machine-gun strafings by a German fighter pilot, the walk of his soldier father most of the way across France, and the flight of his pregnant mother and sister with him to escape the German Panzers during the invasion of France in 1942 while he was entrusted with carrying all their savings in a box covered in a blanket.
He described the life in Vichy France and North Africa, and his expulsion from school; how it felt when the Portuguese ship on which he was sailing on the way to refuge in Cuba was stopped by a U-boat mid-way across the Atlantic; his learning Spanish and English, the murder of his grandmother – and the life his family created in the US after WW II when they were able to find sponsors, as was law then and recently, who would guarantee five years of sustenance, and obtain visas to come to NY.
This gentleman attended the University of Wisconsin and Iowa, working very hard for his room and board, translating, waiting tables, etc. before meeting his wife Claudia through Jewish friends and becoming a professor at UT. She escaped Brussels the day the Nazis invaded and spent time in Morocco a year before Henry and his family went through the very same camps. She subsequently became an elementary school teacher.
This speaker presented a coherent and moving account of the evil of the Vichy French world. He said 508 close and distant family members were assassinated by German in WWII.
In a time when immigration and evil treatment of many people in many countries remain a very serious concerns, hearing the story of a family who legally and with much suffering came to America and became assets to their adopted country is inspiring. In his memoirs Dr. Fribourg shares that he has taught in colleges in many places in this world, teaching students how to grow edible crops for themselves and for the creatures they eat.
He emphasizes that he speaks now so that “we remember and do not forget.”
*** NOTE *** Dr. Fribourg has misplaced the name of a couple who ordered a signed book. Please, if you ordered a book from him, email him at Fribourg@tennessee.edu or call 560-1247