The Jewish Eye
Love In A World Of Sorrow: A Teenage Girl's Holocaust Memoirs
Love In A World Of Sorrow
A Teenage Girl's Holocaust Memoirs
by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller
Devora Publishing: 2005
Description of Book:
Important as both a family history and more broadly, as a contribution to the Holocaust record, this memoir, unflinchingly told more that four decades after it occured, details what can happen in the most extreme and dire of human circumstances. "The unrelenting fear of death and gnawing pain of hunger led to acts of desperation among many who survived; some stole, others lied and schemed. Still others took comfort in intimate relationships that might be considered illicit or misguided in ordinary times. It was not all pure and righteous, but it happened."
Also a story of interfaith compassion, the author and her family were hidden by the efforts of a non-Jewish couple and a sympathetic Ukrainian militiaman at the risk of their own lives. Their developing relationship and the harrowing events that followed lend the book an immediacy and jolt so many years later. Fanya Heller's subtle depiction of her parent's knowledge that it was a non-Jew's love for their daughter that had moved him to hide them; their embarrassment and ultimate acceptance of the situation, leads us to wonder how we would have acted under the same circumstances – as father, mother, or daughter.
About the Author
Fanya Gottesfeld Heller came to the United States after the Holocaust. She obtained a B.A. and an M.A. in psychology from the New School for Social Research and honorary degrees from Yeshiva University and Bar-Ilan University. She has also studied art history at Columbia University, philosophy and literature at the New School, and family therapy at the Ackerman Institute. In 1998 she established The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism at Bar-Ilan University. In that same year, New York State Board of Regents awarded Mrs. Heller the Louis E. Yavner Citizen Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to teaching about the Holocaust and other assaults on humanity. Mrs. Heller’s writings have also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Jewish newspapers nationwide.
To give other educators the tools to effectively teach the lessons of the Holocaust, Mrs. Heller commissions an annual conference on Holocaust education at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. She also lectures at universities and conferences to promote further awareness of the Holocaust.
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