1111 Days in My Life Plus Four

Ephraim F. Sten; Moshe Dor, trans.; Fore­word by Myra Sklarew
  • Review
By – April 16, 2012
On July 12, 1941, a pre­co­cious boy of thir­teen named Ephraim Sten began a diary in Nazi-occu­pied Zloc­zow, a small Pol­ish vil­lage. For more than three years, he wrote while in hid­ing in a small cot­tage in the near­by vil­lage of Jele­chow­ice, where Hyrc Tyz and his Ukrain­ian Catholic fam­i­ly hid Ephraim, his moth­er and a num­ber of oth­er Jews. Fifty years lat­er, Sten, now an Israeli grand­fa­ther, bows to the requests of his grand­chil­dren who want to know about his expe­ri­ences dur­ing the war, and trans­lates his diary into Hebrew, (which has now been trans­lat­ed into Eng­lish). While trans­lat­ing it into Hebrew, this old­er Ephraim main­tains a run­ning dia­logue with the writ­ings of his younger self. To the out­er world, the old­er Sten is a suc­cess, but inward­ly, he has nev­er recov­ered from his past. The diary, with its mature com­men­ta­tor, shows how sur­vivors attempt to free them­selves from the voic­es and images of their past but don’t real­ly suc­ceed. Sten, who was an excep­tion­al­ly bright and obser­vant youth, is an insight­ful inter­preter of the Holo­caust expe­ri­ence today. An unusu­al and wel­come addi­tion to the mem­oir genre.
Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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