We felt privileged to be part of the 34th conference of the World Federation of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants (WFJHS&D) in Washington DC. Over the 3-day weekend, we listened to stories of survivors, shared our own experiences as 2Gs, re-connected with friends from other states that we met in last year's conference in St. Louis and made new connections not only with 2Gs, but 3Gs and 4Gs. It was such as delight to see and talk with the future generation of young people motivated to carry the message of their ancestry forward - to never again be a bystander, and to combat social injustice.
Over 300 persons attended this event, with a large representation from Michigan. In addition to our three authors, Rita Benn, Eszter Gombosi and Ruth Wade, were 16 individuals that belonged to the Detroit CHAIM chapter, and many others with a Michigan connection, either as alumni or whose children attended University of Michigan. Rita and Ruth had been invited to facilitate a writing memoir workshop at this conference. There was so much interest in their session, that they had to turn away over 10 to 15 people due to space constraints. During the workshop, participants were very engaged, eagerly responding to the writing prompts that were offered, and in sharing their short narratives with one another. Many remarked that this was the best break-out session of the conference. Rita and Ruth plan to offer this workshop again next year when the conference will be held in Toronto. Contact us if you would like them to offer a writing memoir session to a 2G or 3G group from your organization.
Esther Allweiss Ingber wrote a wonderful article about our book in the Detroit Jewish News, after interviewing two of our editors, reading our stories and attending one of our panel presentations. You can read it about it here.
This June has been a wonderful month where we explored insights from our book with audiences on both sides of the coast. On June 9, authors Eszter Gombosi and Rita Benn presented at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City, California, and on June 28th, another author panel, Ava Adler, Rita Benn and Ruth Wade, zoomed with a second-generation support group from Teaneck, New Jersey. Participants at both venues were very engaged with our stories, asking question after question. In California, one individual was so moved that she wanted to buy a book for herself and one to donate to the local Jewish high school in town. In New Jersey, many in the group shared how how much they resonated with aspects contained in all our stories. One person, in particular, exclaimed that our book transformed her life. She felt she was able to see her parents' pain differently and felt validated that she was not alone in what she experienced in her own family. We are enormously grateful that sharing our lived experience is proving to be so valuable to our readers.
When we decided to take a deep dive into our memories of growing up as children with Holocaust parents, and write our stories, we knew we had a powerful book and message to share with others. We never imagined though that so many in the book industry world would also appreciate our work. In the mail today, we received a program catalog of winners and finalists from the 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest International awards program for indie authors and independent publishers which was established by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group in cooperation with Marilyn Allen of Allen Literary Agency (formerly the Allen O'Shea Literary Agency).They recognized our book as a Finalist for memoirs in the category dealing with overcoming adversity/tragedy and sent us a medal, certificate and gold stickers. This is our sixth award conferred to us by a reputable association from the publishing and literary arenas. We are beyond thrilled!
We feel so honored to once more receive more accolades. The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust was recognized on June 15th as a Finalist in the 17th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards judged in the category of anthology. The lists of winners and finalists are showcased at www.indieexcellence.com.
We are delighted to learn that we were selected as the gold winner for the 2022 best anthology by the 25th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards .This award competition recognizes the best books published in 2022 from small, independent, and university presses. Over 2,600 entries were submitted in 55 categories with Foreword’s editors choosing approximately 10 finalists per genre. Those finalist choices were subsequently sent to individual librarians and booksellers who made the final decisions. We feel very honored to be cast among this prestigious group of winning authors.
We were excited to see our book highlighted (pp. 46-47) in the University of Michigan Alum Summer 2023 Magazine, and recommended as a "Summer Read". In her review of our book, Katherine Fiorillo writes, "'The Ones Who Remember' is a stark reminder that these atrocities aren’t so distant and tragedy doesn’t stop radiating just because the violent acts have physically ceased.....This legacy is one that is sometimes joyful, as families celebrate the ways their Jewish culture has survived, but one often marred by inherited grief that creeps into daily life. One of the most recurring examples is self-gaslighting as the second generation perpetually belittles some of their most challenging personal experiences by comparing them to the Holocaust. Even in its brightest, most hopeful moments,
'The Ones Who Remember' is not a light read. But it’s one that helps us better understand intergenerational trauma, the power of storytelling, the true meaning of resilience, and how to be a better ally, friend, and community member to those who carry a nearly unbearable weight."
On our YouTube 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!
It is wonderful to see a review of our book published by Readers' 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.
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.