September 1, 2019
Benjamin jumped. A Polish Jew escapes from a train carrying his family to Treblinka. It’s around this miraculous act of survival that his daughter’s memoir of a lost father circles. One of three of a vast Warsaw family to live through the Holocaust, Ben Wichtel made a new life in Canada only to lose everything a second time. Diana Wichtel was 13 when her mother took the children to her Catholic family in New Zealand. Her father was to follow. She never saw him again. Her quest, decades later, to unravel her family’s secrets and silences took her across the world — Poland, Germany, Canada, Israel — as she pieced together fragments of information about the fate of her family at the hands of the Nazis and made shattering discoveries about her father’s final years. Clinging to hope and humor, the book is also about the power of love, the insistence of memory and the transmission of the legacy of the Holocaust down the generations. They tried to erase him but Benjamin jumped. This is his story.