Eycke Strickland, an educator, ceramic artist and writer, presents at a North Coast Writers meeting on June 4. Submitted photo
North Coast Writers presents educator, ceramic artist and writer Eycke Strickland in an intriguing review of a momentous time in human history.
The free reading starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, at Wine on the Waterfront, 115 E. Railroad Ave., Port Angeles.
Patrons are encouraged to arrive earlier to purchase refreshments prior to the program.
Eycke (Laabs) Strickland was born in Germany on the brink of events leading up to World War II. Her father, an architect, risked his life and the lives of his family in helping Jewish refugees to flee Hitler’s terrible Third Reich slaughter. Eycke, an observant and perceptive child, was witness to extraordinary events while living only 11 miles from Auschwitz, Poland, where her father had been assigned. The family fled ahead of the advancing Russian armies, settling back in Germany as refugees themselves. She reads from her memoir chronicling these and other events, "Eyes Are Watching, Ears Are Listening: Growing up in Nazi Germany 1933-1946."
Eycke began her higher academic training after the war, majoring in languages, in both Germany and Switzerland. She focused on English and French, and in her late teens, served a year of work/study in the United States, before returning to Germany to teach conversational German and to work as a translator/interpreter. She met and subsequently married Charles Strickland in 1958. The couple moved to Madison, Wis., so that Charles could complete his Ph.D., while Eycke was hired by the University of Wisconsin Medical School, translating archaic German and French medical literature on the “History of the Origin of the Ossicles.” She also co-authored a number of articles on that subject and helped put Charles through graduate school.
Becoming a U.S. citizen in 1963, Eycke gave birth to a son and then a daughter, after her husband joined the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. It was there that she began her second career as ceramic artist, producing and teaching ceramics in the studio art department at Emory. Her last ceramic work, a series of seven clay tablets onto which she inscribed her memories of the Holocaust, was exhibited in 1999 at the Schatten Gallery at Emory University.
During the 1980s Eycke began doing research on the Jewish Holocaust, traveled to Israel, contacted and then met with survivors who had been rescued by her father. After 23 years of teaching ceramics, she retired in 1997 and together with her husband moved to Port Angeles. There she began writing her memoir primarily from a child’s viewpoint. It was published in 2008 and a translation is being prepared for publication in Germany. For more information, visit Eycke’s website at eyckestrickland.com.
When people ask Eycke, “How did you come to choose Port Angeles for your retirement?” she replies that she and Charles “fell in love with the Olympic Peninsula during the summer of 1973, when he was teaching at the University of Washington.”
Years later, in 1997, Eycke and Charles retired from Emory, realizing their dream of living on the Olympic Peninsula.