On our you tube channel, do not miss watching the most amazing presentation held at the Longmont (CO) Public Library on May 24th. You will see three different voices amplifying the family story of Joy Wolfe Ensor’s (author and co-editor of our book) mother and aunt, Henia and Ilona Karmel. Inspired by their wartime poetry, composer Michael Udow shares excerpts of his recently completed chamber opera “A Wall of Two”. Joy follows with readings from her chapter that speaks to the themes depicted in these opera selections. The presentation culminates with clips from a 1984 radio interview where Henia describes the genesis of her poems and remarkable story of her postwar reunion with her husband. WOW!
Five Star Book Review
It is wonderful to see a review of our book published by Reader's Favorite. This stellar independent review adds to the many five-star rating reviews that have been posted by readers on Amazon, the testimonials of advance praise and comments we have received from participants who've read our book, and recognition offered to us as finalists and winners of various book awards.
Exploring Our Parents' Stories
After World War II, there were no “how-to” books about how to tell children about the Holocaust. Survivors did the best they could. In contrast to many of the experiences of our authors in our book, the parents of authors Natalie Iglewicz and Joy Wolfe Ensor shared many stories about their Holocaust from the time they were very young. Their Survivor parents painted a picture that vividly brought to life descriptions of their extended families that were murdered as well as the loss and suffering they themselves endured. In the May 9th episode of 'Conversations' sponsored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, interviewer Ellen Bachner Greenberg, who is also a 2G, discussed this impact. How deeply could second-generation descendants enter their parents’ pain without being overwhelmed? What were some of the artifacts that the survivors managed to carry with them throughout the war, and what do they mean now to their offspring?
The authors conclude describing the benefits they gained from the writing process: the shifting in their understanding of their own childhoods, their parents’ lives and their own perspectives as adults, and now, giving book talks that allow for making valuable connections with diverse audiences across the country. You can enjoy listening to a replay of the webinar available on the Museum website.
2023 Silver Medal Winner Award
We are thrilled to learn that our book has been awarded a Silver Medal by Nautilus Book Awards among the genre of books describing 'Heroic Journeys'. The Nautilus Awards "celebrate and honor books that support conscious living, green values, wellness, social change and social justice, and spiritual growth." Over the past 23 years, winning authors have included Neil deGrasse Tyson, Temple Grandin, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Matthew Fox, Eckhart Tolle, Joan Borysenko, and His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, to name a few. We are honored to be considered part of this prestigious list.
Co-editors and authors Rita Benn and Ruth Wade facilitated a writing workshop through ZOOM for adult children of Holocaust survivors in the Chicago area on April 19. Yonit Hoffman who is the Senior Director of Holocaust Community Services and Doris Lazarus, an educator and coordinator of a 2G group affiliated with the Illinois Holocaust Museum, had participated in Rita and Ruth's memoir writing workshop at the 2022 World Federation of Child Survivors of the Holocaust and their Descendants (WFCSH&D) last November. They valued their experience so greatly that they wanted to offer this same opportunity locally to the second generation community groups that were part of their networks.
The 2G persons who participated in Chicago offered a variety of reasons for their attendance. Some wanted inspiration to better organize the memoirs they had already started writing about their parents, some wished to deepen their understanding of their childhood experience through writing and still some attended the workshop because they were just curious. After offering writing process and feedback guidelines, we provided short structured writing times with prompts, and partner breakouts where participants shared their writing. We were gratified to see the new insights gained by this 2-hour session. As one participant reflected, "Listening and writing were both interesting because you could see the connections and where it goes — different directions, and a spider web of connections." And another, "Normally I write factually and I let that go. Results were more powerful." In a follow-up email to the organizers, she further wrote, "This definitely was a one of a kind experience. I think all of us really delved into it and got a lot out of it, each in their own way. I already ordered Rita and Ruth's book. They make a great team."
Rita and Ruth thoroughly enjoyed working with this group and hope to continue offering this workshop to others. Contact them if you are interested to have them lead a workshop for your community!
Washtenaw Psychology Society (WPS)
Foreword Reviews Indies Finalist
We are delighted that our book has been recognized as a Finalist in the 25th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Our book is in the top 12 selected for the best anthology published in 2022. "After more than 2,500 individual titles spread across 55 genres were submitted for consideration, the Finalists were determined by Foreword’s editorial team....This year’s Finalists represent the top offerings in each genre, from debut author publishers to established university and independent presses,” says Publisher Victoria Sutherland. “It’s really a wonderful tribute to the independent voices that don’t often get the recognition they deserve." All finalists can be found at: https://www.forewordreviews.com/awards/finalists/2022/ Winners will be notified on June 15th.
On March 28th we were honored that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum sponsored a program with three of our authors at Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation in the Chicago area. Ruth Finkel Wade, Eszter Gombosi and Phil Barr spoke to an audience of descendants of survivors, family and friends. They read from their book The Ones Who Remember; Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust and engaged with the audience, sharing the gifts and challenges of growing up with their survivor parents.
Eastern Michigan University(EMU)
Sponsored by EMU's Center for Jewish Studies with Psychology as a departmental co-sponsor, and the Ann Arbor chapter of ORT America, authors Rita Benn, Fran Lewy Berg and Avishay Hayut were invited to share their experiences in writing their stories to a mixed audience of EMU faculty, students and community members. The recording of their March 27 panel presentation and Q & A is available here.
The authors were enthused in particular by the personal discussions they had with several non-Jewish college students during their book signing. A student of Polish background talked about the interest happening in her home town of Lublin to learn about the history of the Holocaust. She shared that she was buying our book to send to her mother living in Poland. Another student majoring in psychology and international relations indicated she wanted to read our book to learn more about this period in history because of her specific interest in trauma, and potential work with people who might have a somewhat similar history in terms of displacement and loss of home. Still another student's interest was deeply personal. Originally of Mexican and German descent, she hoped to better understand the history of her German ancestry from a Jewish perspective. This interest amongst the university students affirmed the importance in educating these young people about the Holocaust.
Authors in the News
On page 7 of the Washtenaw Jewish News, Robert Erlewine, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), speaks about the importance of our upcoming book talk on March 27th. "Personal narratives have an ability, perhaps unmatched, to bear witness to horror." On that same page, there is an article about our April fundraiser event where we will celebrate the establishment of the Irene Butter Fund for Holocaust and Human Rights Education Fund. The featured speaker at the event is Ruth Messinger, former Executive Director of the American Jewish World Service. Her talk is entitled, The Fight for Human Rights: Past, Present and Future.