Tuesday 18 June 2013

Book ~ "I Have My Mother's Eyes: A Holocaust Memoir Across Generations" (2009) Barbara Ruth Bluman

From Goodreads ~ In "I Have My Mother's Eyes: A Holocaust Story Across Generations", author Barbara Ruth Bluman chronicles her mother's dramatic journey from Nazi-occupied Poland to western British Columbia, where her legacy lives on. 

Bluman sets an urgent and intimate tone as she follows Zosia Hoffenberg from her genteel upbringing in Warsaw through the shock of the Blitzkrieg and on to her escape from Europe through the Soviet Union and Japan. That escape required the help of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania, who defied his superiors and helped several thousand Jews to flee. Bluman also reveals how, even as she was recording her mother's tale of survival, cancer was ravaging her own body. 

In this interwoven narrative, Bluman explains how she garnered strength from her mother's account as a refugee, as she "stared death in the face." These twin narratives blossom out of salvaged journal entries and letters, and from the photographs of family members who have reunited after years of displacement. A celebration of the universal struggle for survival, "I Have My Mother's Eyes" offers a hopeful response to one of history's darkest times.

Gord had won this book from the Book Mine Set a couple years ago and I finally picked it up and read it.

This book has two stories.  One is that of Zosia, the youngest daughter of Symcha, a fairly well-to-do Jewish businessman living in Poland during WWII.  It tells of Zosia's harrowing escape to Canada via Lithuania, Russia and Japan after she meets and marries Nathan.

The second story is that of the author, Barbara, who is the daughter of Zosia.  She tells of meeting and marrying and then the heartbreak when her husband left her for another woman.  She discovered she had cancer while writing this book (and eventually died) ... Barbara's daughter, Danielle, finished the book in honour of her grandmother and mother.

It's an interesting story ... I can't imagine what it was like going through what they did to survive and not knowing if your family was still alive.  The writing style was well-paced and I enjoyed this book.

There are lots of pictures so you can put a face to the people in the book along with a family tree (which I found helpful).

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