Eve Kristine Belfoure, a survivor of Nazi labor camps who was a language teacher at Woodlawn High School for 25 years, died Friday of heart failure at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown. The Woodlawn resident was 79.
"She had seen the absolute worst in life, people executed in front of her eyes," said her son, Charles Belfoure of Westminster. "But she had an amazingly cheerful disposition and outlook on life."
Born in Krakow, Poland, the former Eve Vetulani was forced to work in labor camps after the Nazi occupation of her country in 1939. Her knowledge of languages, her son said, saved her life during World War II because she was more valuable to the Germans as a translator than a slave laborer.
"She heeded her father's advice, 'Learn your enemy's language,'" her son said.
She was liberated by the Allies in 1945 from a camp in Nordhausen, site of the construction of V-1 and V-2 rockets.
After the war, she worked as a translator for U.S. Army intelligence and attended Frankfurt University in Germany. She came to the United States as a displaced person in 1950 and attended Washington University in St. Louis.
After moving to Maryland, she graduated from Frostburg State Teachers College in 1962 and then taught French, German and Spanish at Woodlawn High School. She retired in 1988.
She earned a master's degree in French from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1966.
She also spoke Polish and was fluent in Russian and Italian. After retiring, she worked as translator of historical documents for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. She also worked in the Tracing Bureau of the Red Cross, attempting to reunite Holocaust survivors with their families.
Mrs. Belfoure also volunteered at Our Daily Bread in Baltimore. Her son said she enjoyed traveling and visited China, Turkey, Australia and South America.
Her husband of 27 years, Charles W. Belfoure, died in 1997.
Mrs. Belfoure's friends and relatives will be notified of a memorial service. Her ashes will be sprinkled over Krakow.
In addition to her son, survivors include two grandchildren.