Monday, April 8th, 2013
Holocaust Remembrance Day is being celebrated today around the world. In Halifax this evening (April 8), WLU Press author Israel Unger will give the keynote speech and celebrate the publication of his new book, The Unwritten Diary of Israel Unger, a collaboration with Carolyn Gammon. For more events in the Atlantic region, see the press release and tour schedule.
The book is the latest in the Life Writing series from WLU Press, which “promotes autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters, and testimonials written and/or told by women and men whose political, literary, or philosophical purposes are central to their lives.”
We have been fortunate here to have worked with a number of survivors of the Holocaust and to hear their stories firsthand. Without exception these men and women have been deeply principled, humble about their accomplishments, and an honour to know.
Elisabeth Raab: Elisabeth M. Raab was born in Hungary in 1921. In 1944 she was deported with her mother, father and daughter to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. She alone survived and was liberated by the Americans in 1945. Her book And Peace Never Came paints a brief yet moving picture of her idyllic life before her internment and the shock and the horrors of Auschwitz, but it is in the images of life after her liberation, that Raab imparts her most poignant story — a story told in a clear, almost sparse, always honest style, a story of the brutal, and, at times, the beautiful facts of human nature.
Israel Unger: At the beginning of the Nazi period, 25,000 Jewish people lived in Tarnow, Poland. By the end of the Second World War, nine remained. Like Anne Frank, Israel Unger and his family hid for two years in an attic crawl space. Against all odds, they emerged alive. Now, after decades of silence, here is Unger’s “unwritten diary.”
Johanna Krause: Persecuted as a Jew, both under the Nazis and in postwar East Germany, Johanna Krause (1907–2001) courageously fought her way through life with searing humour and indomitable strength of character. Johanna Krause Twice Persecuted is her story.
Michael Englishman: 163256: A Memoir of Resistance is Michael Englishman’s astonishing story of courage, resourcefulness, and moral fibre as a Dutch Jew during World War II and its aftermath, from the Nazi occupation of Holland in 1940, through his incarceration in numerous death and labour camps, to his eventual liberation by Allied soldiers in 1945 and his emigration to Canada. Surviving by his wits, Englishman escaped death time and again, committing daring acts of bravery to do what he thought was right—helping other prisoners escape and actively participating in the underground resistance.
Imre Rochlitz: Accident of Fate is a first-hand account of persecution, rescue, and resistance in the Axis-occupied former Yugoslavia. At the age of thirteen, Imre Rochlitz fled to Yugoslavia from his childhood home in Vienna following the NaziAnschluss, leaving his family behind. In January 1942 the Ustashe (Croatian Fascists) arrested and interned him in the Jasenovac death camp, where he dug mass graves. On the verge of death, Rochlitz was released due to the extraordinary intervention of a Nazi general. He escaped to the Adriatic coast, where he and several thousand other Jewish refugees were protected by the army of Fascist Italy. After Italy’s surrender, he joined Tito’s Partisans, becoming an officer and army veterinarian, and rescued dozens of downed Allied airmen. In 1945, he fled Yugoslavia’s Communist regime and reached liberated southern Italy. In 1947, at the age of twenty-two, he emigrated to the United States.