Showing posts with label holocaust survivor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holocaust survivor. Show all posts

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Light of Days A Book Review

 


The Light of Days

By:

  Judy Batalion

Reviewed by

  Geoffrey W. Sutton

The Light of Days is a harrowing and tortuous journey through Poland under the body and soul crushing acts of vicious Nazi aggression experienced by courageous Jewish women who creatively energized Jewish resistance with presence, weapons, and nourishment. Some were destroyed. Some survived.

My interest in World War II stems from the stories my parents told of surviving the Nazi blitz of London. Since then, I have read various accounts of the bloody global war. And my wife and I have visited World War II and Holocaust Museums around the world as we learned about the Holocaust. The Light of Days stands out from the rest because it is about the role of women in the Jewish resistance-- a subject about which I had little knowledge.

I found the book difficult to read for more than one reason. Despite previous reading about the horror of the Nazi doctors and the brutality of the Nazi invaders, I was still stunned by the incredible pain and humiliation inflicted upon the Jews in these stories. Of lesser importance yet still a factor, is the difficulty in keeping track of people with unfamiliar names operating in unfamiliar territory. For readers unfamiliar with Polish, I suggest keeping a bookmark near the front of the work where the characters are briefly described and you can track the Polish cities on a small map.

After working through some of the early background stories and appreciating the work of different resistance groups, the story moves toward the powerful Warsaw uprising followed by other victories, imprisonments with brutal tortures, and bold escapes. We are invited to mourn the loss of those brave women who did not survive and glimpse the struggles of those who endured the war  but struggled to survive survival.

I recommend this work to anyone interested in the Holocaust, World War II, and the role of women in resisting the Nazis.

 

Reference

Batalion,J. (2020). The light of days: The untold story of women resistance fighters in Hitler’s ghettos. New York: HarperCollins. 


Available on   AMAZON.

 

Related Book Reviews

 

The Choice: Embrace the Possible  (Holocaust Survivor)

Inheritance A Legacy of Hatred and the Journey to Change It

The Sunflower On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness


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Links to my World War II posts – places and museums

 

 

 

 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Inheritance A Legacy of Hatred and the Journey to Change It Book Review


Inheritance
A Legacy of Hatred and the
Journey to Change It

By James Moll, Director

This 2006 documentary tells the story of two women with very different “inheritances” from Amon Goeth, the Nazi commandant of the Plaszow Concentration Camp in Poland. Goeth was known for his brutal murders of thousands of Jews.

Monika Hertwig is the daughter of Amon Goeth and Ruth Kalder. She gradually learned bits and pieces about her father’s horrific treatment of the Jews. It would be a mistake to overlook the role of her mother who had an affair with Goeth and a troubled relationship with Monika. The Spielberg film, Schindler’s List (1993), appears at a pivotal moment in Monika’s efforts to come to grips with her family history and her own identity.

Monika learns of a Jew, Helen Jonas-Rosenweig, who was a kitchen slave in her father’s manor house. Helen survived the holocaust with assistance from Oskar Schindler, whom she describes as a different kind of Nazi. Helen is in the United States and responds to Monika’s request to meet. A powerful emotional meeting makes the documentary a memorable experience unlike other holocaust stories.

The focus of the film is on Monika. However, we also learn the now familiar story of so many lost lives during the holocaust. In addition to the death of family members, Goeth shot Helen’s boyfriend. She eventually married a survivor but tragically lost him to suicide.

I recommend this film for its portrayal of real people trying to live in the present and achieve some sort of reconciliation with their past. The impact of one man’s evil on just these two people after some 60 years is incredible without considering the thousands of other lives he destroyed.

I watched the film streamed from Amazon prime.

The film is 75 minutes and was released on DVD 6 January 2009



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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THE CHOICE: EMBRACE THE POSSIBLE A book review





Author: Edith Eva Eger

A sixteen-year-old girl is in love. She loves to dance. She has a boyfriend. And she lives with two sisters and her parents and the attendant conflicts that come with family life. One morning in 1944, her life is violently disrupted when soldiers rip her family apart. Next, we are on a journey with her. We see her enter the bleak dream-destroying Auschwitz. We learn about survival amidst a human hell.


I wasn’t excited by the novel I started during a visit to Washington DC. My wife thought I might like Eger’s book, The Choice. She was right. By the end of our DC visit, we returned to the Holocaust museum, which became a new experience through Dr. Eger's lens. I found myself looking at the faces in a new way--wondering about victims, survivors, and perpetrators in terms of life-choices.


Eger’s tells her story of survival through the eyes of a young woman. We see her near death experiences, wonder at her tiny triumphs, worry about whether she will make it, rejoice in her successes, and feel her warmth and joy as we learn of her wisdom in later years.


Dr. Eger is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at UCSD. But she did not enter college until middle age. She connects with Viktor Frankl with whom she shares not only a common past but also a common love for humanity.


As Edith struggles with her past and works to live in the present, she is faced with many life-choices. We are treated to a case study in post-traumatic growth as she reviews her past through the lens of a psychologist in healing whilst helping others heal as well.


The Choice is an inspirational story that will be of interest to anyone who enjoys seeing people break free from the past. She offers us an opportunity to dance with a star.

Reference

Eger, E. E. ( 2017). The choice: Embrace the possible. Simon & Schuster. La Jolla, CA.


Watch Dr. Eger in a Ted talk








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