Category Archives: Holocaust/Genocide

Review: The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

thefamilythree The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century, by David Laskin, brings the reader a compelling look at the choices we make, and how those choices affect our lives, and the lives of our family members.

From the Russian Empire, Israel and America, the journeys taken are cohesively written, with word-imagery that fills all of the senses. The reader garners glimpses into the past that combine social, ethnic and familial aspects, including shtetls and the immigrant’s assimilation into new lands.

From revolution and war, striving to survive under extremely harsh and horrific conditions, emigrating and cultural differences, the details depicted are written brilliantly. Laskin’s arduous research shines through the pages. It is not just his family’s story, but everyone’s story, everyone interested in history.

The Russian Revolution, and how it affected Laskin’s family, is described in minute detail, with nothing left to the imagination. The struggles to begin anew in a harsh desert land is so descriptive, I could see the environment before my eyes. I could feel the intensity of the heat, and the wind blowing sand everywhere.

The family’s assimilation into American life is told masterfully, illuminating their struggles to earn a living, cope, and be seen as a part of the whole. Learning to act like American was not an easy task, from dress to speech to mannerisms, it took effort to be accepted. It took perseverance and determination to be successful.

One family member was so successful, and as a female in a world of male business professionals, she outshone them. the author’s Aunt Itel knew she was the best at what she did. She was confident and was able to achieve what others dream of. Her strength and fortitude led her to found the Maidenform Bra Company. Who would have thought that in 1922 this was possible!

World War II had a major impact on Laskin’s family. The events are tragic, and affected family members in ways that one would not expect.

There were times I caught myself teary-eyed through Laskin’s beautiful prose. His sensitivity to the subject matter was most definitely apparent to me. Yet, through the sensitivity, his forthrightness leaves the reader cognizant of events that they might not have otherwise been aware of. What an amazing writer and what an amazing story! The family/ancestral history is a wonderful tribute to those whose lives came before the author, David Laskin. Just as important are the profound historical facts depicted within the pages.

The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century, by David Laskin,is a book of extreme historical importance, in my opinion. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Lorri's Blog, Novels, World War II

Lorri M. Review: We Survived

we survived We Survived: Fourteen Stories of the Hidden and the Hunted in Nazi Germany, by Eric H.B oehm is a compelling and frank read depicting the deplorable acts thrust upon the Jewish people during World War II.

All of the fourteen stories are overwhelming, and are a critical and insightful look into survival and what one will do in order to thwart all attempts to be imprisoned in concentration camps or killed at the hands of the Nazis. The book depicts the darkness of the days and the living conditions the Jews faced in order to survive. It portrays the lives of those who opposed the Nazis and how they faced their own dilemmas and demise within a country environment of horrific and atrocious proportions. The ugliness and images within the pages conveys the magnitude and reality of the events that occurred, written soon after liberation, when memory was fresh.

The stories evoke an extremely horrific look at the events the individuals found themselves up against. Yet, they are also a humane and poignant perspective of humanity. We Survived is a book that offers hope and inspiration during the most darkest of times.

In my opinion, We Survived: Fourteen Stories of the Hidden and the Hunted in Nazi Germany, by Eric H. Boehm is a book of historical importance that documents the evil forced upon, the persecution of, and the fear of those whose stories are told. I highly recommend We Survived to everyone.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction, World War II

Lorri M. Review: Not Me

notme Not Me, by Michael Lavigne, is a compelling novel on so many levels. For me it was a metaphor for self identity, sin and change, and the superficial roles that one plays in order to move on with their life and flee from the consequences of their actions.

Not Me is a study in the father-son relationship, and is a unique Holocaust story. Within the pages, their relationship is redefined. The father and son relationship is explored with intensity.

Heshel Rosenheim, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is Michael’s father. While Michael is caring for his father, he is handed some old journals/diaries written by his father that will alter the course of his (Michael’s) life, life and family history as he knew it.

Heshel has been living as a Holocaust survivor since the end of World War II. His journals tell otherwise. And, this, is the root of the reality, upon which Michael has been handed. The foundation of his life has been shattered.

Heshel, a man whose cowardly acts could not be suppressed by running from the truth of his actions, is seeking consolation of some sort from his son. He wants Michael to learn the facts, after all of these years of hiding them from him. The quandary resulting from Michael’s reading the journals is cemented.

Heshel learned that fleeing only negates the truth, which followed him everywhere he went. Within the context of the self identity are the themes of love, loss, forgiveness and redemption. The blur between forgiveness and redemption is obvious in the way Lavigne writes.

Michael is rent between his new found knowledge and his love for his father. He is a man who is floundering. He is divided between the truth and the superficiality of his childhood. He is torn between who he truly is and what he is. Does the truth negate who we actually are, have become through living, or thought we were? This is a question the reader is exposed to.

It is a book that is fascinating, compelling, insightful, poignant and comical, and one that I highly recommend.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Novels

Chag Sameach!

I came across this touching story this morning, while reading articles on CNN. Imagine a non-Jewish family willing to hide you, your mother and other family members for two years! Imagine being able to give thanks, after 70 years, to one of the individuals who saved your life during the Holocaust! The article describes this, and so much more.

amenorah  2

Put on your yarmulke,
Here comes Hanukkah!
So much funukah,
To celebrate Hanukkah!
Hanukkah is the festival of lights.
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.
Adam Sandler
The Hanukkah Song

Books: Children


Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah
My grandies love this book.

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes My grandie girlie-girl loves this story.

Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah I so love this book!

Chag Hanukkah Sameach!

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Kristallnacht – 75 Years Ago

On November 9th, 1938, Kristallnacht (an intense series of attacks on Jews fostered by the Nazi party paramilitary) became known as the “Night of Broken Glass”. The coordinated attacks on Jews continued through November 10, 1938. The glass storefronts of the Jewish-owned businesses were totally shattered, by both the paramilitary and by local citizens. The interior of Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin was destroyed, along with so many other structures.

Seventy five years later, please remember all of the victims of Kristallnacht, and of the Holocaust, during your prayer and quiet time.

To learn more about Kristallnacht, browse these links:


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Wikipedia

Yad Vashem

Martin Gilbert’s Book – Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (Making History)

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Filed under Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, World History, World War II

Lorri M. Review: Brave Genius

bravegenius Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, by Sean B. Carroll, is a well-documented book regarding the lives of two particular individuals, Albert Camus and Jacques Monod. Each man was goal-oriented, trying to pursue their dreams during a time of extreme turbulence and upheaval in France.

The stories of each man encompasses other individuals responsible for their endeavors and for the safety of their lives when the two of them were involved in the French Resistance. The documentation of their involvement in the French Resistance is intense and often borders on too much information. Do not get me wrong, I am a history buff, and avid World War II book fan, but at times there were too many facts that I thought were unnecessary. I felt the length of the book, at almost 600 pages, could have been scaled down to 300-350 pages, and the story line would still have been adeptly told.

But, even with that, the book is a work of excellence in portraying the two men and their achievements that one would think not possible under the adverse circumstances. Brave Genius is a work of historical importance, in my opinion, and one that gives extreme and intense insight into how France dealt with the affairs of Hitler’s movement through the country.

Sean B. Carroll has done the research, and provided the reader with a plethora of information. The intellectual writing brings the reader into the academic folds. The pages reveal a work of scientific exploration, and literary brilliance, as far as Camus and Monod are concerned. From philosophy to science, the pages reflect their endeavors and striving to succeed beyond the normal inclinations. They also reveal the masterful writing of Sean B. Carroll.

I recommend Brave Genius to all who have an interest in World War II, and in particular, French history.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction, World War II