Holocaust survivor and her son to address pregnancy center banquet
Sol Pitchon and his mother, Garmaine Pitchon.
Garmaine Pitchon, 83, was a teenager when her mother and five younger sisters were rounded up in their hometown of Thessalonica, Greece, by the Nazis and sent to a Polish ghetto.
Her father had already been killed by a German soldier in Greece, and the youngest of Pitchon's sisters, a baby, died on the train in transit to Poland, where the family had been told a new home was awaiting them.
That, of course, was a lie. Pitchon was sent to work in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Ravensbrü?ck. Her mother and two sets of younger twin sisters died in a gas chamber, she learned later. Pitchon managed to stay alive by stealing bits of bread and bargaining with the gold she took from the teeth of dead fellow prisoners.
The victim of electric shock treatments and other medical experiments, Pitchon at 16 was ordered to undergo sterilization. Only because a Nazi doctor overseeing the sterilization program was called away on an emergency was she later able to have children.
"An old Jewish doctor, who performed the sterilization surgery under the threat of death, had removed one of her ovaries and made the incision but did not remove the other ovary," Pitchon's son Sol, 63, said recently. "He said to her, 'When you have children, think of me.'"
Today, Sol Pitchon -- who converted to Christianity after a divorce -- and his mother live in the Clearwater, Fla., area.
After a midlife religious and professional transformation, Sol Pitchon operates several Christian anti-abortion pregnancy centers in Florida that offer assistance to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. He will be coming to Frederick next week to address the local Care Net Celebration of Life Banquet, scheduled for March 12.
Pitchon will again visit the U.S. Holocaust Historical Museum in Washington with his mother before coming to Frederick, and Germaine Pitchon will also attend the Care Net banquet.
Following his conversion to Christianity in his 40s, the former University of Florida psychology major went back to school. Earning a master's degree in counseling from Liberty University, he left his position as an underwriting manager with Allstate Insurance.
As a Christian psychotherapist, Pitchon worked at a Christian psychiatric hospital for three years and then in private practice for five years before being asked to take over New Life Solutions, where he serves as CEO.
"What I am trying to do is connect the dots," Sol Pitchon said, calling abortion in the U.S. "our Holocaust."
Pitchon said that initially after strongly opposing his conversion to Christianity, his family has come to accept his decision. He considers himself ethnically Jewish and a Christian in terms of his faith.
The mission of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick, spokeswoman Angela Phillips said, "is to assist women and men who are experiencing an unplanned and unprepared for pregnancy."
Phillips added that Care Net is a nondenominational Christian organization supported by the Catholic Church and other Christian institutions.
She said Care Net offers walk-in pregnancy tests Monday through Friday, as well as sonograms on Tuesdays and Thursdays to confirm the pregnancy, confirm the viability of the pregnancy and set the gestational age.
Phillips said Care Net "educates women about abortion as a medical procedure" and its potential consequences.
She said the sonograms are also a part of the pregnancy center's effort to dissuade women from terminating pregnancies. Care Net does not refer for abortion. Last year, Phillips said, Care Net provided 279 pregnancy tests and 143 sonograms.
Care Net does refer clients to social service agencies and helps pregnant women with material assistance, such as diapers, formula, car seats, strollers and baby cribs as well as counseling.
Last year, Care Net efforts supported 749 families, donating more than 39,000 diapers and 1,000 baby blankets, Phillips said.
Care Net also offers peer and group abortion grief counseling, and parenting, pregnancy and decision-making classes.
"There is a spiritual side to what we do as well," Phillips said. "We will pray for people as well, if that's something they want."
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