|Resources for Children of Holocaust Survivors
editor's note: Is your work missing from this list? please email me with the information! Thanks! -J
Although including amongst its themes the Holocaust and its ramifications for the second generation, this essentially is a contemporary adventure story.
An orphaned former child prodigy cellist daughter of a Holocaust survivor begins to heal.
Elijah Visible: Stories by Thane Rosenbaum
Nine interlinked stories about lifelong insomniac and claustrophobe Adam Posner stars at different ages and with different sets of parents.
Aryeh Alexander, a rabbi's son, grows up in the 1960s in Windsor, Ontario. His doting extended family is dominated by his mother's childless best friend Berenice and by Hannalore, the twin sister of his father's Cantor and a survivor whose long-repressed memories of WW II Europe comprise one of several disillusioning lessons Alexander is fated to learn about the complex freedoms and burdens of adulthood.
Maya's parents fled from the Nazis and settled in Tel Aviv. She moves to Germany with her husband and son. There Maya falls in love with Klaus Stern, a visiting American academic whose memoirs indicate a Jewish origin.
Follows a girl named Eva as she comes to painful and bewildering awareness that grownups and even other children often believe that their skin color or religion entitles them to better schools or a nicer neighborhood, or simply to extra respect.
About a Holocaust survivor's struggle to remember both the heroic and the shameful events of his past, and his American-born son's need to assimilate his father's life into his own.
Follows the life of Chanie Levy, pampered only child of Holocaust survivors. Chanie's dream of having children who will bear the names of her relatives who perished in the war becomes a desperate struggle that threatens to destroy her marriage.
Family drama about the upheaval caused by a million-dollar legacy of German reparations money.
Comedy begins with suicide of parents, devastating the son but invigorating the granddaughter.
The title story concerns an elderly Polish Jew who takes in a greedy couple of borders. The second story, "Holy Fire," traces a Dutch Jewish teenager's transformation into a fanatical fundamentalist. In "Bette," a Dutch woman cares for her terminally-ill mother.
First-person account by the daughter of a survivor: Two stories running side by side, one in written word, one in pictures.
Fictional reflections of a haunted 2nd gen obituary writer emigree from Australia to New York.
Een aantal kinderen van joodse slachtoffers van de holocaust, de tweede generatie slachtoffers, zoekt troost bij elkaar.
Fictionalized autobiographical account of Pastor's family's survival in Krakow and their emigration to South America and finally to the United States.
Arnon Greenberg is an Israeli in his thirties. One day his father is accused of being the Nazi war criminal Yoachim Kron, pretending to be a Holocaust survivor. From this moment on, Levy leads his protagonist on a quest for his father's past.
Three siblings' struggle to understand their survivor father.
Rosie Kamin's sorrows are her parents' internment in Auschwitz, where her father was killed, and her mother's silence and eventual suicide in Pittsburgh, where she'd gone to raise her two daughters. Rosie falls into taking care of her obtuse, demanding stepfather. She leaves him for Paris, to carry on her family legacy of denial and escapism.
With military service ahead, Gabriel is full of questions about his parents' past and doubts concerning his future. The confused teenager goes to his father's home town in Romania to search for his roots.
A young woman comes to terms with the reverberations of the Holocaust in her family.
Emotionally-scarred child of survivors Momik grows from warped fantasy world into tortured writer who thinks he is channeling dead authors.
Novel about two generations in Israeli society: the parents, immigrant Holocaust survivors who established the State of Israel and built their homes there, and their children, who seek their fortunes in distant lands and live as immigrants in foreign countries.
Son is so haunted by his parents' experience that he becomes a Nazi-hunter. He loses his job and family pursuing revenge, and discovers a hidden half-brother.
Chaya, a Belgian philosophy student and child of survivors, discovers Jewish tradition and grapples with whether or not the universe is a random, meaningless coincidence and the hatred of Jews over the centuries. Made into a film called "Left Luggage," starring Isabella Rosellini.
Includes the following writers: Amichai, Yehuda Appelfeld, Aharon Bartov, Hanoch Ben-Mordecai, Isaac Birstein, Yossel Govrin, Michal Hareven, Shulamith Megged, Aharon Orlev, Uri Schutz, David Shaked, Gershon Tomer, Ben-Zion Yaoz-Kest, Itamar English: Philadelphia, J.P.S., 1986.
Ruth Rothwax, a successful New York businesswoman, returns to Poland with her father to confront the past as well as her future.
Collection of interrelated stories, first published in Australia, brings together middle-class men and women who share a community and the same terrible childhood memory--their parents were all Holocaust survivors.
Coming-of-age story of a COS in Manhattan.
Mathieu's sister's suicide forces the family to confront the long-range effects of the Holocaust on future generations of one Jewish family.
Nonfiction/Recollection/Children of Survivor Stories
Explores the difficulties of preserving an authentic version of Holocaust events, how 2nd gen should convey its knowledge to others, the effects of traumatic past on its inheritors and the second generation's responsibilities to its received memories.
A diary-like account of the experiences of children of survivors.
Analyzes novels and films of children of survivors and implications for modern Judaism in the US.
Twelve essays by daughters of survivors. Contributors include Helen Epstein, Aviva Kempner, Rosie Weisel, and Eva Fogelman.
Berger, a New York Times reporter, recounts what it was like being a child of Polish refugee survivors, and details the lives of his parents.
Rosenbaum, a Manhattan lawyer turned writer, draws heavily on his memories of growing up as a COS.
Recounts her travels across Eastern Europe following the fall of communism.
Five families share their stories across three generations and reveal different ways of confronting the original trauma of the Holocaust. The author identifies themes such as how family members reconstruct major life events, what stories remain untold, and the intergenerational reverberations.
The author searches for something that will repair the damage done to his family by divorce, and will connect the family to something larger than themselves. Ultimately, the trip is about finding out why he wants to take the trip.
A clinical psychologist offers an account of the experiences of Holocaust survivors' children.
Israeli children of survivors describe their ongoing discovery of their parents' stories as they grew from childhood to adulthood and a review of second-gen literature and changing Israeli attitudes to the Holocaust, its survivors and to Israeli politics.
The Australian son of Polish Jews travels to Poland to discover his family history and better understand the present-day inner lives of those like him.
Alan Kaufman grew up struggling with his Jewish identity, vowing never to become a victim like his mother. He hitchhikes across the U.S. only to summon the phantoms he had sought to escape. His flight, after taking him to a kibbutz in Israel and the Israeli army, returns him to the streets of New York, homeless and an alcoholic, until at last he finds redemption in poetry. Review of Jew Boy from San Francisco Chronicle.
Examines the psychology of hatred and ethnic resentments passed from generation to generation, argues that while legal systems offer a structured means for redressing injustice, they do not redress the emotional pain, which, left unresolved, is then passed along, leading to entrenched ethnic tension and group conflict. Chronicles a study of children of survivors and Nazis, finds that story-telling is central to keeping the cycle of ethnic and religious strife alive is, with each side recounting the injustice it suffered and the valor shown by avenging its own group.
A family history beginning with the meeting of the author's parents in prewar Berlin
The author was born in Krakow and emigrated to Vancouver at thirteen. Her memoir examines the effect of emigration during adolescence as well as loss of language and culture, and the various contexts in which she evolved her identity as a woman and daughter of survivors.
Preservation of recipes, immigrant stories, childhood memories, droll musings over ritual, and sincere habits of the heart. It is an exploration of the need to connect with the past and with tradition, and of our hunger for meaning in a chaotic world.
Edith Schumer returns to Germany with her daughter, Fern, who knew almost nothing of her mother's past. Finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards.
Collection of fiction and non-fiction prose by COS. Contributors include Eva Hoffman, Thane Rosenbaum, Victoria Redel, Art Spiegelman, and Carl Friedman.
An account of the author's return with her family to Romania in 1975, where nationalism and xenophobia threaten.
Twenty-nine writers discuss the effects of being children of survivors and of being children of perpetrators. The survivors' children focus on personal relationships to legacy. Perpetrators' children confront the conflicts of love for parents and condemnation and shame of their parents' sympathies and actions.
Wajnryb interviews children of survivors and explores communication in survivor families. Explains the effects of trauma on communication and the language of silence that often becomes the first step to healing.
Anna, through recollections and dreams, describes the lives of her mother and aunt from the marketplaces of pre-war Krakow, through the Holocaust, to Schindler's factory, and finally in suburban Melbourne.
The reflections of 13 COS on being Jewish in a land full of ghosts and hostility. Mostly they are alienated from parents, Germans, and the official Jewish community, and feel rage, despair and a strong need to justify living where they do.
The author journeys into her parents' past and examines how it transmitted to her a struggle for identity. Her struggle becomes more clear when she has children.
The author traces her maternal family history through several generations to its Central European roots while exploring the effects of assimilation, national identity, and the Holocaust on Jews living in the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia.
Through interviews, photography, journalism and memoir, creates a sociocultural portrait of renewed Jewish life and tradition in Poland that has emerged since the fall of communism in 1989.
Infuses everyday activities with references to horrors not personally experienced.
Emerging from meetings between survivors and children of survivors in the San Francisco area in 1994, these works of art became for many of the contributors a therapeutic way to process either personal experience of the Holocaust, or the emotional legacy passed on by parents who had experienced it.
About the troubles at the intersection of history and personality, of self and other, of wakefulness and sleep. Winner of a Society of Midland Author’s Prize, finalist for the Pen USA West literary Prize for poetry.
Author was born in post-war Germany, came to the U.S. in 1962 and became a voice teacher, a visual artist and a poet. She writes "Come with me on a voyage into the vast abyss of the human soul and witness the transformation of my feelings into color, form and verbal images. The exteriors are stripped away and only the essence remains." For more about the author, see the soulreflections website. Nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize.
The poetry is presented by the author and accompanied by original compositions for cello by Johanne Perron.
Hidden Children Stories
In her mid-30s Helen Fremont discovered that, although she had been raised in the Midwest as a Catholic, she was in fact the daughter of Polish Jews whose families had been exterminated in the Holocaust. The memoir chronicles the voyage of discovery she took with her older sister, ferreting out information from Jewish organizations and individuals and worrying about its impact on their angry, overpowering father and reticent, nightmare-plagued mother.
Stories of the lives of Jewish child survivors orphaned by the deportation from France to Auschwitz in 1942, and how they have become agents of memory and history. Author is a psychologist-psychotherapist, a lecturer at Paris 13 University and a consultant to the organization Doctors Without Borders.
Author discovers she is Jewish and the child of survivors at age 17 and tries to integrate her story with her parents' silence and invention.
Living in Tel Aviv in 1958, twelve-year-old Gershona is surrounded by an adult world filled with secrets she doesn't understand. Adapted for Israeli television. Also in Italian (Florence, La Casa Usher, 1990 and Verona, Mondadori, 1999), in German (Frankfurt, Alibaba, 1993 and Frankfurt am Main, Fischer, 1995), in Romanian (Bucharest, Fiat Lux, 1995), in French (Paris, Hachette) in Dutch (Baarn, Fontein, 2000) and in Albanian (Tyrana, Dituria).
Ruthie starts a friendship with Denise just when she is having more and more difficulty coping because of her parents' experiences.
Hank, 16, child of an upper-crust Bostonian and a penniless composer; his best friend Jonathan, whose mother, a Holocaust survivor, runs a restaurant with her husband; Jonathan's cousin David, 21, who leaves a psychiatric hospital to live with Jonathan's family in a last hope of alleviating his depression.
12-year-old Hadara dreams of flying. The shoemaker next door says he was once in a circus, and he encourages her to fly. It turns out he was not in a circus but in a concentration camp, where he fixed shoes for the Germans. Adapted for Israeli television. Also in German (Berlin, Elefanten Press, 1995 and Weinheim, Beltz & Gelberg, 2000), in Italian (Verona, Mondadori, 1997), in Czech (Prague, Albatros, 1998), in Spanish (Madrid, Loguez, 1998), in Dutch (Baarn, Fontein, 1999).
A collection 10 stories the heroes of which are children of Holocaust survivors. The first Israeli book to focus on the children of Holocaust survivors (translated into German, Italian and Romanian).
The legacy of the Holocaust is passed to a young girl through her father, a concentration camp survivor.
Over 60 years later, a women tells her childhood story to her grandchildren.
At 15, Alona is considered too young to join her school's tour of concentration camps in Poland, but she argues eloquently and is finally accepted.
The author travels through Eastern Europe interviewing and photographing Jewish youth at home, in synagogue and elsewhere. They discuss their lives and their sense of their Jewish identity.