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Children of the Holocaust [Kindle Edition]

Helen Epstein
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $8.01 (45%)


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Book Description

Children of the Holocaust is a blend of memoir, reportage and oral history that examines the inter-generational transmission of trauma. Originally published in 1979, and translated into many languages, the book has become a classic. This Kindle edition includes a new 30th anniversary preface by the author and an updated bibliography.

Chosen as one of the New York Times Best Books of the Year, reviewers called Children of the Holocaust “a passionate, brilliantly illuminating work” and “an enormous achievement.”

The sequel to Children of the Holocaust, a family and social history of Central European Jews titled Where She Came From is also available from

Editorial Reviews


"An enormous achievement, heart-wrenching and unforgettable." --Chicago Tribune

"A passionate, brilliantly illuminating work." --Los Angeles Sunday Times

About the Author

Helen Epstein is the author of several books of literary non-fiction including the ground-breaking book on inter-generational transmission of trauma Children of the Holocaust andWhere She Came From. Her New York Times profiles of celebrated musicians are collected in the volume Music Talks. She is the co-founder with her husband of Plunkett Lake Press Ebooks of Life Writing.

Product Details

  • File Size: 790 KB
  • Print Length: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Plunkett Lake Press (July 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003WQBIU0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,930 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo for Helen Epstein December 28, 1999
As a daughter of Holocaust Survivors, when I first read this book (over 15 years ago), I was astounded. This author was the first to raise the issue at all: how has the Holocaust affected those whose parents survived it? When I was growing up, not only was the Holocaust itself practically a taboo subject, but no one ever, ever discussed the children of Survivors. This author had the courage, the foresight, and tenacity to do just that - and to do it in the most sensitive and articulate way.
When I first read the first chapter, I was so astounded that I stood up, and read that chapter standing up! She describes exactly, to the letter, how I felt growing up: that the Holocaust was a locked black box in your household, and that its secrets were more secret than sex, or anything else you can possibly imagine. Finally, someone has put on paper what I always felt, but could never describe. Everyone I have ever given this book to, no matter what his or her background, said he couldn't put it down. To anyone interested in the Holocaust - you must read this book!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work December 3, 1999
By A Customer
While there have been many books written detailing the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, Helen Epstein places its impact in the context of both survivors and their families, specifically their children. Ms. Epstein's briliant narrative conveys her own family's history interweaving it with the histories of many others, both highlighting common ground and preserving the uniqueness of each. For me, as a "Child of the Holocaust", this book showed me that my feelings of alienation and unique perspective on man's potential brutality to his fellow man, both indirect consequences of my parents' wartime experiences, are shared within a community. This change in perspective lead me to the realization while the Children of the Holocaust are a separate and special group, we share common bonds with the descendents all persecuted people, and there are many, far too many, such children in the world. This book profoundly changed my outlook on the world and my view of my place in it. It has also helped others better understand my family and me. There can be no higher praise for literature, and I am very grateful to Helen Epstein for writing Children of the Holocaust, and to those taking the time to read it.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits Home January 13, 2000
By A Customer
As the child of a survivor, this book talks about many of the things our family kept silent. Just reading that even one other person out there had similar feelings, experiences, and views was so very comforting. It is important that society acknowledges the 2nd Generation's special status. May the memory of all who perished, of all who survived, and all who have come after them be ever for a blessing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and unique March 30, 1997
By A Customer
Helen Epstein offers a unique perspective on this nightmarish aspect of our world history by weaving the stories of children of holocaust survivors into a tapestry you won't soon forget. In turns horrific and haunting, she introduces us to real people with all too real pasts, wrenching us with their tales or amazing us with their fortitude, but always doing so with simplicity and ease. Her prose reads almost like someone's diary that you stumbled onto in an old chest in the attic, and you find yourself unable to put it down as you wrap yourself up in all these lives. I promise you'll never look at the Holocaust the same way again
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very valuable for children of survivors June 1, 1999
By A Customer
How can you say this is "nothing new"? I think the amazing contribution of this book is how it deals with the holocaust across generations. Most books I have seen dealing with survivors only talk about their time in the camps and not how it affected them when they were freed. This book tells the story of Helen's mother, but it also talks a lot about how children respond to their parents' experiences. I think this book is extremely valuable to understanding transgenerational effects of the Holocaust. I highly recommend this book to children of Holocaust survivors, or people who know children of survivors.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars touching June 15, 1998
By A Customer
After reading this book for a history of WW II class I heard a friend in class remark to the professor, " Dr. K. I want you to know that this book has touched me and mde me do a lot of thinking. Of course I have trouble sleeping at night." The professor replied, " Good I have succeed in this class. I made you think and contemplate." I couldn't agree more. This book is a wonderful book that not only explores the long range consequences of the Holocaust but also show that over fifty years later the ripple of effects are shaping this century even as we approach the next millenium.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding January 7, 2008
By Esther
This book was riveting. I found amazing revelations about my own childhood while reading this book, and I quickly discovered I have some background in common with the author. Never before has any psychology, non-fiction or self-awareness book kept me in such profound awe or has unlocked the key to understanding the emotional, mental and physical impact of my being one of a half million children of Holocaust survivors raised in America.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second generation ogf surviv May 3, 2005
I read this book many years ago. I was greatly moved by it, and through it understood the special burden children of survivors have to live with. Helen Epstein was the first to really explore the feelings and situation of the children of survivors. The secretness she writes about it, the things which were in the air but never spoken about play a large part in this.

I do remember having one point in which I felt the author did not do enough. While she deals with the individual psychological of problems effectively she does not really consider the ' collective side' of the disaster.

The imperative to keep the Jewish people alive after such a great disaster is not a subject she dwells on intensely.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars why you should read this book
this book is not only a must for people having Jewish friends but it is also a must for all non believers of the holocaust
Published 28 days ago by Alex Goossens
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Especially insightful for those with similar experiences. This book was well written and the research was presented in narrative form.
Published 2 months ago by Eleanor
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant
Very interesting and explains some of the behavior that I now understand from watching my parents. A learning experience. Helps explain some of MY behavior .
Published 9 months ago by Steven L Wald
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pivotal Work
As one of the first books which talked about what it was like being the child of Holocaust Survivors, Helen Epstein's book is truly pivotal but, as the child of survivors myself, I... Read more
Published on May 17, 2011 by Linda Pressman
5.0 out of 5 stars Belonging
Simply put: Until I read this book, I didn't really think that I belonged to or with any group. I didn't know anybody like me and I wondered how that happened. Read more
Published on April 12, 2010 by BenjaminPreiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing book!
This book changed my life. I am a child of a Holocaust survivor.
Thank you Helen Epstein.
Published on March 14, 2009 by Naomi Litvin
3.0 out of 5 stars Children of the Holocaust - good but not great
As a child of Holocaust survivors myself, I was very interested in comparing my experiences with those of the author and her interview subjects. Read more
Published on January 6, 2009 by F. D. Mendelsohn
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive and powerful
I purchased this book for a friend who had been unable to get a copy here in Australia.

As an 'outsider' to the experiences described I find this book remarkable in its... Read more
Published on February 20, 2005 by Elvie Oz
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More About the Author

Helen Epstein is the author of six books of literary non-fiction including the two memoirs Children of the Holocaust and Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for her Mother's History and the biography Joe Papp: An American Life. All three books were named New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She is also the translator from the Czech of Acting in Terezin by Vlasta Schonova and the late Heda Margolius Kovaly's classic memoir Under A Cruel Star: A LIfe in Prague 1941-1968. She and her husband are the founders of Plunkett Lake Press ( See

Her work on Kindle includes Children of the Holocaust; Music Talks: The Lives of Classical Musicians; Joe Papp; Tina Packer Builds a Theater; Meyer Schapiro: Portrait of an Art Historian; Memoir; A Living Will; Training as a Shakespearean Actor (with Tina Packer);and Ice Cream Man (with Gus Rancatore). Her book on memoir, Ecrire La Vie, as well as translations of Where She Came From and Children of the Holocaust are published by La Cause des livres (Paris) and available on

Born in Prague in 1947, Helen grew up in New York City, where she attended and graduated from Hunter College High School (1965). She became a journalist after the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968 when her personal account was published in the Jerusalem Post.

In 1971, Helen graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and began freelancing for diverse publications including the New York Times where her first Magazine cover story on freelance musician Ed Birdwell ran in 1974. Her profiles of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma are collected in Music Talks.

She began teaching journalism at New York University in 1974 and became the first woman in the journalism department to be awarded tenure. In 1986, she left NYU to move to the Boston area. She has an active speaking career and has lectured at a wide variety of venues including universities in Europe and North and South America; health organizations; high schools; synagogues, libraries and churches; the United States Military Academy at West Point; the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The mother of two grown sons, Helen shuttles between the Berkshires and the Boston area with her husband and blogs about the arts for the New England cultural website The Arts Fuse.

Photos show Helen with late author Heda Kovaly and son Sam, with her Czech researchers Jiri Rychetsky and Jiri Fiedler in 2001; speaking with Jean-Gaspard Palenicek at the Centre Tcheque in Paris; lecturing at SUNY Geneseo; at the El Ateneo bookstore in Buenos Aires; in Rome with her Italian editor Annalisa Cosentino and translator Elisa Renso; and at Freud's birthplace in Pribor, Czech Republic. To see a video interview of Helen, please cut and paste:

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