Family History of Fear: A Memoir
What would happen to a girl who was raised in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe as a gentile whose mother had a deep hidden secret? The secret was that, in order to survive, the mother had assumed an identity and hid her Jewish roots, severing herself from her relatives. Her daughter in this memoir travels in search of her Jewish relatives and their stories, most of them lost or only partially recoverable from neighbors or distant relatives. This is a fascinating approach to memoir, but, unfortunately, it is difficult to separate the many relatives and follow their stories. It is a search for identity; however, and as such, it is a poignant reminder of how families were decimated and generations lost to the vicious and unrelenting Holocaust.
The book explores what it means to be Jewish even when one’s religious and cultural identity has been stolen. As many of us search through the past to discover where we come from and what it means to our identity, it is very worthwhile to ponder the six million or more family stories that this book represents.