The Let­ters Project: A Daugh­ter’s Journey

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

A sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Holo­caust mem­oir, The Let­ters Project con­sti­tutes an impor­tant addi­tion to the grow­ing library of works explor­ing inher­it­ed trau­ma. In 1986, upon the death of her moth­er, Eleanor Reis­sa — an acclaimed actress, singer, direc­tor, writer, and con­tem­po­rary Yid­dish per­former — was stunned to dis­cov­er a stash of 56 let­ters writ­ten in Ger­man, hid­den inside an old leather purse she had nev­er seen before. The dis­cov­ery of this cor­re­spon­dence, from her father to her moth­er, dat­ing back to 1949, was a prover­bial Pandora’s Box, launch­ing her on a quest that spanned con­ti­nents and decades, and led to truths about her late father, a sur­vivor of Auschwitz, whom she had only known as an ail­ing, bro­ken man. It was not until 2018 — thir­ty years lat­er — that she had the let­ters trans­lat­ed. Engag­ing and inti­mate, The Let­ters Project is a daughter’s love let­ter to the father she thought she knew, as well as a riv­et­ing saga of per­son­al and painful rev­e­la­tion and a cau­tion­ary tale about heed­ing the lessons of history.

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