Reading List

Reading list #14: Ripples across generations

This is Reading List #14, a selection of recent Holocaust-related news stories and links from around the internet.

Psychologist Maya Lasker-Wallfisch is interviewed by the Jewish Chronicle about inter-generational trauma and the effects on her own life of her mother’s experiences at Auschwitz during WW2. Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a well-known Holocaust survivor who turns 95 this week, has spoken extensively in the last few decades about her survival in the grimmest of conditions, and now her daughter Maya has written a book in which she explains the ways in which inherited trauma manifested itself as self-harm, depression and struggles with addiction. As the article explains, the book Letters to Breslau has been published in German and is awaiting interest from an English-language publisher, which I for one hope will be forthcoming.

Auschwitz survivor Magda Brown is remembered in a moving tribute by her granddaughter, Amy Rainey, in a post at Medium. Magda, who has died at the age of 93, was born in Hungary in 1927 and was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 when the country’s government was overthrown and began collaborating with the Nazis. Amy’s post, which begins “How does your heart feel?” reminds us the intense human connections made by survivors like Magda who began new lives and families in countries distant from those in which they had themselves been born. She continues: “My heart feels sad. My heart feels angry. My heart feels grateful.” Magda herself spoke widely about her story and details of her life can be found at her website. Thank you to Brooke Randel for alerting me to this story.

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A number of news outlets have been reporting the story of how a message written on a banknote has helped Auschwitz survivor Lily Ebert make contact with the family of the man involved in her liberation in 1945. Ebert’s great-grandson Dov Forman posted an image of the banknote, given to Ebert by Private Hayman Shulman, on Twitter. On the note, Shulman had written “A start to a new life. Good luck and happiness.” As a result of the Twitter post, Ebert learnt Shulman’s identity, which was previously a mystery, and that he died seven years ago. She has since been in contact with his family.

NFL star DeSean Jackson has apologised after posting antisemitic conspiracy theories on Instragram, and has been invited to visit Auschwitz by 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg (CNN). Jackson faced widespread condemnation for sharing ideas which perpetuated the Nazis’ own lies about Jewish domination of global finance. Jackson subsequently said that he would “fully educate” himself in the light to the reaction to his posts.

Hollywood star Winona Ryder has spoken about her childhood fears of Nazis coming for her family (Jerusalem Post). In an interview, she explained that knowledge of her family’s experiences in WW2, including the deaths of her father’s relatives at the hands of the Nazis, left her very frightened, even though she was born years after these events. She has also spoken about anti-Semitic abuse she received from actor and director Mel Gibson, who himself denies the charges.

If you have seen a relevant article that could be included in next week’s reading list, why not get in touch via the contact page, or on Twitter, @holocaustreader?

Inclusion of articles on this list does not necessarily indicate endorsement of opinions expressed within them.

Images in this post are used under the principle of fair use for the purposes of review, education and study, and will be removed at the request of the copyright holder(s).

The header image shows central Breslau in around 1900. Breslau was home to the Lasker family until 1942.

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