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Gaston Schmir memoir

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.0014

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    Gaston Schmir memoir

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    Consists of one memoir, 207 pages, entitled "Memory: The Story of an Obsession" by Gaston Schmir, written in 1992. The memoir, which includes extensive footnotes, family stories, and family tree information, contains information about Mr. Schmir's experiences as a child in wartime France. He and his sister Louise hid in various situations in Angoulême, Montbron, Breve, Grenoble, and Thônes, France. In 1944, Gaston and Louise escaped into Switzerland and lived in a refugee camp. The siblings, with their father, Samuel Szmir, moved to the United States in 1946.
    publication/distribution:  1992
    Collection Creator
    Gaston L. Schmir
    Born in Metz, France, on June 8, 1933, Schmir spent his childhood escaping throughout France during WWII as his father sought safe havens for his Jewish family. In 1944, at the age of 11, Schmir and his nine-year-old sister were smuggled into Switzerland with the aid of members of the French Resistance.

    Schmir arrived in the United States in 1946. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1950 and Harvard College in 1954, then received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Yale in 1958. He was engaged in scientific research at the National Institutes of Health, Laboratory of Chemistry in the Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, from 1958 to 1960. He was a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service.

    Despite the progressive deterioration of his illness, Schmir was able to slowly use the keyboard on his computer to begin writing his recollections of a childhood spent in wartime France. “This memoir,” he wrote in 1994, “has evolved from a strictly personal account to a documented research paper.”

    Schmir is survived by his wife of 48 years, Barbara Chesney Schmir; three daughters, Miriam Schmir Glasberg of Santa Monica, California, Lisa Schmir of Fairfax, Virginia, and Nina Schmir of Brooklyn, New York; his brother, Dr. Maurice Schmir of Eliot, Maine; two grandsons, Eli and Dashiell; and a niece and four nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Louise Schmir Hay.Gaston Leonard Schmir, professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, died on July 2. He was 75 years old.

    Schmir was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1970 and had battled the disease for 38 years.

    Schmir was appointed to the Yale faculty in 1960. His research emphasis was in the area of enzyme mechanisms and related physical-organic chemistry. Many of his papers on these topics are considered classics in the field. He was also known for his encyclopedic knowledge of enzyme kinetics and organic reaction mechanisms.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Gaston Schmir donated his memoir to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:47:43
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