At the end of World War II, some 250,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors found themselves living as displaced persons without homes or communities to return to. In this debut novel, Ghita Schwarz weaves together the narratives of four Polish Jews who attempt to find normalcy in the U.S. after meeting in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp. Their trials and triumphs tell a heart-rending story of the courage, tenacity, and tenderness that connect this small group of people forced to live with the scars of a cataclysmic war.
Schwarz writes with the deft hand of a practiced author, in unsentimental but haunting prose, following her characters through their struggles to acquire visas, their search for relatives and the rebuilding of their own identities through creating their own families. Her portraits show with clarity the difficult adjustments forged by European immigrants in the 60’s and 70’s, a time of great turbulence in American society. Finally, she grapples with their attempts to memorialize the past and the various ways in which they envision the future.
A civil rights lawyer specializing in immigrants’ rights, Schwarz hails from a family of post-war Jewish refugees. Her novel creates a deeply human landscape that exposes issues of trauma and memory and touches on some essential truths about what it is that makes us human.
Linda F. Burghardt is a New York-based journalist and author who has contributed commentary, breaking news, and features to major newspapers across the U.S., in addition to having three non-fiction books published. She writes frequently on Jewish topics and is now serving as Scholar-in-Residence at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County.