Monday, July 5, 2010

The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home by Erin Einhorn 2008

"[W]ith her 21st-century, third-generation point of view, Einhorn is able to give [The Pages In Between] an intellectual rigor many-similar-sounding books have lacked." From an introduction to the memoir by Jan Lisa Huttner  in the JUF News of Chicago in anticipation of a visit by the author.

Erin Einhorn’s mother’s story of having survived as a hidden child in Poland during World War II is the subject of this moving memoir. The author is curious. Her mother, who was born in 1942, says she remembers very little beyond that her own mother was killed and when pressed, wants to avoid talking about the past. She knows who took care of her, but never made contact with the Polish family who kept her during the war or the Jewish family in Sweden who took care of her after the war.

The author, who is a journalist, senses an interesting story and takes a course in learning to speak Polish in preparation for an extended stay in Poland. What she finds when she arrives in Poland is a disturbing story that she hadn’t anticipated. In knocking on the door of her mother’s old house, she finds the family of the woman who had saved her mother’s life, but soon she is enveloped in a convoluted real estate nightmare having to do with the house where her mother was raised and the descendants of the woman who saved her mother.

Interwoven with that track is the story of Einhorn’s search through archives in city halls and other repositories of old documents in Bedzin and elsewhere where her family had lived. She wanted to document the lives and deaths of her ancestors and to see if she could confirm family stories that had been passed down to her.  Here she had many experiences familiar to researchers – specifically those working in the area of genealogy. For example, she found records she didn’t even know to look for, while searching for others she never found. She corroborated some information she had learned from her mother, but to her surprise, disproved parts of stories told to her as fact. She found some people very helpful; others stood in her way. And throughout, she makes observations about a country whose large Jewish population was wiped out, leaving behind abandoned cemeteries and burnt out shells of synagogues. She talked to Poles of all ages, trying to get a read on their views of the past as well as their current attitudes.

This memoir includes an extensive family tree and photos. Included in the list below are the names of descendants except for recent generations where the author has only included their first names.

To hear stories about other hidden children, click here.

Pinkhes Frydrych – author’s maternal great great great grandfather; married Zlata
    Sura – their daughter
    Fraydela – their daughter
    Shmil- their son; married Liba Mari Henkos; author’s great great grandparents
        Yisruel –their son; married Zisl Paserman; author’s great grandparents
            Faygl – their daughter; married Chaim Weindling
            Moyshe – their son; married Minnie
            Shloyme – their son; married Rudl Ester
            Laybish – their son; married Tillie Gold
            Yankl – their son; married Heltsha
                Abramek and Gutsha – their children
            Duvid Oyzer – their son; married Baltsha Gold
            Beresh (Bernard)– their son; married Sura Leah Rozenblum; author’s grandparents
                Irena (Irene)– their daughter; married Brian Einhorn; author’s parents
                    Derek – their son; author’s brother
                    Erin- their daughter; author
            Fela (Faye) Brystowska – Beresh’s second wife
                Harold – son of  Beresh and Fela
            Liba; youngest daughter of Yisruel and Zisl; married Shmil Biber
        Avrum – son of Shmil and Liba
        Yitshok – son of Shmil and Liba; married Pesela Najman
            Sukher (Sol) – son of Yitshok and Pesela married to Luba Tryszynska
            Moyshe – son of Yitshok and Pesela    
Natan Paserman – author’s great great great grandfather
    Yankl – his son
    Raysl – his daughter
    Moyshe – his son; married Rachel Getal (author’s great great grandfather)
        Chana – their daughter
        Zisl Paserman – their daughter; married Yisruel Frydrych; author’s great grandparents

            Sally Einhorn – author’s paternal grandmother
                Brian – her son; married Irene Frydrych; author’s parents

Friends and Acquaintances
Benjamin and Shprinsa Keijler
    Fannie  Adolffson - their daughter
Hannah Baytner
Maynard Gerber
Yale Reisner
Bedzin, Poland
Detroit, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp
Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland
Lodz, Poland
Kielce, Poland
Jedwabne, Poland
Krakow, Poland
Kazimierz, Krakow
Dzialoszyce, Poland

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