SOURCE: Author Estherleon Schwartz

Author Estherleon Schwartz

November 20, 2009 14:40 ET

Child Holocaust Survivor Traces Steps to Lifelong Dream

Female Cantor Went From Rags to Riches to Tragedy to Faith

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2009) - A holocaust escapee, Estherleon Schwartz was four years old when her father tossed her over a barbed wire fence into the waiting arms of Swiss soldiers, uttering the words, "Save my daughter and she will always serve you."

About 40 years later, Schwartz discovered her destiny as an American, as she became invested as one of only a few hundred female cantors in the country.

"I am very grateful to have the honor of fulfilling the prophesy my father made in 1944 at the Swiss border when the Nazis were chasing us," said Schwartz, who recounted her story in "Tears of Stone and My Deal with God" ( "It has been a painful, yet inspirational journey in reaching my goal to have a deeper understanding of my purpose in life, in relationship to the world around me."

But the road to that destiny was relentlessly difficult. Her adult life began after she graduated high school, when -- against the advice of her mother -- she married the first man she ever kissed. They separated not long after, stranding her as a welfare mom with two children in a roach-infested apartment on the south side of Beverly Hills. After a string of dead-end jobs -- and suffering through the unexpected passing of her father in 1973 -- the single mother struggled to make ends meet. One night, a friend gifted her with a vintage lavender shirt-maker dress and took her to a society party. The dress stood out, getting the attention of the party's host. Schwartz told him the dress was for sale, so she sold a $45 dress for $500 to the man. That sale inspired her to open, along with her brother, a vintage dress shop. The store, House of Cashmere, grew to 13 locations, and the two siblings went from rags to riches selling high-end fashions to the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Despite their success, Sam took his own life in 1985, and Schwartz began to reach out for the music in the sacred, ancient choral sounds she claimed had "become intertwined with my DNA."

About Estherleon Schwartz

Estherleon Schwartz is a philanthropist and Cantor based in Los Angeles, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the United Nations.

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