The dozens of vignettes in Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust
provide personal perspective on one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. Editors Anita Brostoff and Sheila Chamovitz solicited written testimony from Holocaust survivors, which were developed and sharpened during writing workshops at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. Each story is about a single event, situation, or person--hence the title's "flares" of memory. The stories come from most of the European countries occupied by the Nazis and are grouped thematically. Section headings include "The Lottery of Death and Life," exploring the randomness of survival; and "Disguise as a Way of Hiding," in which several writers reflect on the experience of pretending to be Christian in order to survive. The end of the book collects the testimony of several former American G.I.'s who helped liberate the concentration camps. In her preface to the book, documentary filmmaker Sheila Chamovitz notes that contributors to this volume wrote for reasons that we have heard before, but which remain powerful no matter how often they are repeated. "They wrote so that the Holocaust would be remembered, so their loved ones would be remembered, and so that no one could say it didn't happen." --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
Ranging from snapshots of pre-Holocaust life to survival in disguise and portraits of "the virtuous and the vicious," 92 vignettes by Holocaust survivors who participated in writing workshops at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh are gathered in Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust, edited by Anita Brostoff, a retired Carnegie-Mellon University professor, with Sheila Chamovitz, a filmmaker. In "The Last Hiding Place," Libby Stern recounts watching from her home as German troops surrendered to the Russian Army. Hermine Markovitz tells of being saved by nuns in "The Convent in Marseille." A final section collects stories by American liberators.
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