On her way to see her father in Tucson, Arizona, Ruth Finkel Wade made a stop in Scottsdale. She met with the Descendant’s Forum of the Phoenix Holocaust Association to talk with 2Gs about our book. The conversation and connections were lively. In talking about growing up in Chicago, one of the participants, Nanci Heiman, realized that she knew Ruth’s brother and Ruth as well. They both went to Temple Emanuel and OSRUI summer camp. Ruth read excerpts from her chapter as well as Myra Fox’s poem “Is It Essential?” This was followed by resounding agreement in the audience that “yes, it is essential.” Unfortunately, even more so now with the uptick in antisemitism we are seeing in the world today.
On October 8, the Universalist Unitarian Church of Farmington Hills, Michigan invited two of our authors to offer a book presentation as an integral part of their Sunday service. Natalie Iglewicz and Joy Wolfe Ensor spoke to a raptly attentive and responsive congregation. The service was thoughtfully curated, with three musical piano interludes from a Holocaust Remembrance Suite by Stephan Beneking.
In their presentations, the authors shared not only moving excerpts from their chapters but also mementos from their parents' wartime years and early aftermath. Natalie shared a story of how, during her mother’s internment in a slave labor camp, a kindly woman had smuggled makeshift knitting needles to her — needles her mother used to knit stockings to protect herself and her sisters from the winter cold, and which she kept for the rest of her life. Natalie brought the actual knitting needles to show. Joy showed the small leather-bound journal that her mother had kept when her older brother was born, in which she promised her newborn son that she would “create a legend to secure [the] immortality” of the beloved family members who had been lost. The attendees responded to the readings and artifacts with murmurs and gasps of appreciation.
Following the service, there was a lively Q&A session. One gentleman spoke to the universality of war’s intergenerational legacy by saying, "I’m 75 years old and my father fought in WW II. He liberated a prison camp in the Pacific theater, and he didn’t talk about it. In my family, WW II never ended.” It is moments like this that give our book talks special resonance and reverence.
Three of our co-editors and authors, Rita Benn, Joy Wolfe Ensor and Ruth Wade, were delighted to give a Zoom book presentation on October 4 at the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center (HHREC) in Westchester County, NY. For Joy it was a homecoming of sorts, because her late father, Leon Wolfe, was a founding board member of the organization (then known as the Westchester Holocaust Commission), and her late stepmother, the artist Rita Rapaport, sculpted the Gates of Remembrance (a replica is shown in this photo with Joy's father's prisoner number inscribed) that are a centerpiece of the organization’s Garden of Remembrance in White Plains, NY.
The attendees on ZOOM were engaged and receptive, and asked many questions about our origin story, the writing process, and how to engage in exploring our Holocaust legacy when there is still so much information left to learn. Two participants asked for further contact with Ruth because their parents came from Piotrków Trybulanski in Poland, the same hometown as her father. Another remarked that Rita’s chapter, “Shades of Chanel No. 5,” evoked a flood of memories about her own mother, who favored that scent. The authors feel that the associations and connections that emerge as a result of sharing our stories are a gift that keeps on giving both to the authors and the attendees alike.
On Sunday, October 1, 2023 Ruth Finkel Wade had the honor of speaking to the adult Sunday School class at Anona Methodist Church in Largo, Florida. Members of the class had already done their homework, calling up a video interview of Ruth’s father Sidney Finkel, before she presented. The audience of fifty listened attentively as Ruth read excerpts from our book and engaged the audience in a conversation about learning to heal from the trauma she experienced growing up.
The University of Illinois Alumni Magazine published in their News & Noteworthy: Ruth (Finkel) Wade, ’82 MEDIA, edited and contributed to The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust (City Point Press, 2022), an anthology written by 16 children of Holocaust survivors. Wade and her fellow contributors began compiling their parents’ stories and decided to include their own related personal experiences. The book has received a 2022
Foreward Indies Gold Award and a 2023 Silver Award for Heroic Journeys from Nautilus Books.