The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove presents “Returning Home after the Holocaust: Panel Discussion with Three Award-Winning Authors/Translators” on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 6 to 7 p.m.
Featuring Cathryn Siegal-Bergman (translator of Going Back), Mimi Schwartz (author of Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited), and Ellen Cassedy (author of We Are Here). They are three women who have explored how various individuals found ways, against all odds, to reclaim their heritage, history, and birthright after the Holocaust. They will also discuss how working on these books has transformed their own lives.
This book tells the stories of 16 Jewish women who fled Nazi Germany during the Holocaust and years later decided to return to live in their original homeland. Fleeing the life-threatening policies of the Nazi era, they escaped to various countries with hopes for a better life. Some adapted easily to new languages and cultures, others had great difficulty in doing so. Yet all eventually returned to the country where they had once been targeted.
Cathryn Siegal-Bergman, who translated Going Back, graduated from Cleveland State University with a BA in Philosophy and German. She later earned her MA in Translation Studies from the Institute for Applied Linguistics at Kent State University. Siegal-Bergman worked as a freelance translator for various direct clients, including publishers. It was the experience of translating cookbooks and other nonfiction books that inspired her to start Clevo Books, an independent publisher that focuses on exploring foreign cultures as a way to enrich the understanding of our own.
Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited
Mimi Schwartz’s father was born into a Jewish family in a tiny German village of Rexingen 30 years before Hitler’s rise to power, as he would tell her, “We all got along.” In this original memoir, Schwartz explored how human decency fared among Christian and Jewish neighbors before, during, and after Nazi rule. Ten years after its publication, a letter arrived from a man named Max Sayer in South Australia. Sayer grew up Catholic in the same village of Rexingen and in 1937 moved into an abandoned Jewish home five houses away from where the family of Schwartz’s father had lived for generations before fleeing to America a few months earlier. The two families had never met. Sayer wrote an unpublished memoir about his childhood memories and in Schwartz’s new edition, Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited, the two memoirs talk to each other. Schwartz weaves excerpts from Sayer’s memoir and from a yearlong correspondence with him into her book, revisiting village history from a new perspective and deepening our understanding of decency and demonization.
Schwartz is an award-winning American author, educator, and public speaker. Other books include When History Is Personal (2018); Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father’s German Village (2008); Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed (2002); and the ever-popular Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, co-authored with Sondra Perl (2006). Her short works have appeared in Agni, Creative Nonfiction, The Writer’s Chronicle, Calyx, Prairie Schooner, Tikkun, The New York Times, Ninth Letter, and The Missouri Review, among other publications.
We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust
Cassedy’s longing to recover the Yiddish she’d lost with her mother’s death eventually led her to Vilnius, Lithuania, once known as “Jerusalem of the North.” As she prepared for her journey, her uncle, who had left Lithuania 60 years earlier in a boxcar, made a shocking disclosure and an elderly man from her ancestral town made an unsettling request. Gradually, what had begun as a personal journey broadened into a larger exploration of how the people of this country, Jews and non-Jews alike, are confronting their past in order to move forward into the future. How does a nation and its people overcome a bloody past? How do we judge the bystanders, collaborators, perpetrators, rescuers, and ourselves? Cassedy confronts these questions in We Are Here, one woman’s exploration of Lithuania’s Jewish history combined with a personal exploration of her own family’s place in it.
Cassedy has explored the world of the Lithuanian Holocaust for 10 years. Her work has been published in Huffington Post, Hadassah, The Forward, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Polin, Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, and other publications. She lives near Washington, D.C.
Register for the Zoom link here.
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