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.