New book explains Lake Placid man’s survival of Holocaust, Iron Curtain

— “We rented a cabin in Coreys, between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, and fell in love with the mountains, the lakes and the way of life here,” Frank said in an email.

It was their first vacation in the U.S., and it changed their lives. By 1962, they had moved to Lake Placid and soon opened a leather-goods store on Main Street.

“To my delight, Lake Placid proved to offer more opportunities than just hiking, skiing or making a living,” Frank said. “It provided also an opportunity for international interaction.”

The Shatzes helped with the FISU Games in 1972 and then created the People-for-People Program for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, hosting athletes from all over the world. They were uniquely qualified, as the couple speaks six languages, including English, Russian, German, Czech, Hungarian, Polish and a few other Slavic languages.

“Lake Placid has become our homestead and the source of inspiration to try to live a life worth living,” Frank said.

After the Olympics, the Shatzes decided to spend winters in Williamsburg, Va., where he began writing the “World Focus” column for the The Virginia Gazette. This column about international affairs is reprinted weekly in the Lake Placid News. Frank is also heavily involved with the Wendy and Emery Reeves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. They spend summers in Lake Placid.

“To really appreciate freedom, you have to experience life first under a totalitarian regime,” Frank said. “Basically, I see myself as a survivor who thanks to circumstances and with the help of decent ‘good people,’ managed to survive and finally land in America.”

The Shatzes still like to travel, but they avoid places that remind them of the Holocaust.

“Although, we have been back to Western Europe many, many times, never to Eastern Europe,” Frank said. “It is a place with too heavy baggage of bad memories.”

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