Post­ed by Libi Adler

New book by Naa­va Piat­ka, No Good­byes, hon­ors both of her Holo­caust sur­vivor par­ents’ pasts. Already known inter­na­tion­al­ly for her per­for­mances of her one-woman show, Bet­ter Don’t Talk!,” about her moth­er, Chayela Rosen­thal, Star of the Vil­na Ghet­to, Naa­va com­pletes this Holo­caust tes­ti­mo­ny of her father’s life.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Piat­ka won’t get to enjoy it. Con­fined to her bed, afflict­ed with ter­mi­nal can­cer, she spent the last few months push­ing past her mount­ing pain and fatigue to get this book pub­lished and out to mar­ket. She passed away last month.

The book lives on, though. No Good­byes recounts the fas­ci­nat­ing true sto­ries of Naava’s father, Xavier Piat, in a tes­ta­ment to the endurance of love, the art of sur­vival, the influ­ence of fam­i­ly and the last­ing impact of war. Piat describes her father’s life in Vil­na, vis­its to his moth­er in Paris, his forced first mar­riage, the hid­ing of the future Israeli pres­i­dent, Men­achem Begin in their fam­i­ly base­ment, and much more; all lead­ing up to meet­ing his sec­ond wife, mov­ing to Cape Town, South Africa where their first child Naa­va, was born.

In the end of the book Piat­ka adds a let­ter her father had left for her before he died. In it, he talks about being a sur­vivor and how that expe­ri­ence is always passed down to the chil­dren of sur­vivors. Hav­ing asked her father to tell her sto­ries in the past, he writes to Naava:

The truth is only those who them­selves lived and were pained dur­ing those times can pos­si­bly ful­ly under­stand and trans­form their expe­ri­ences into knowl­edge. Oth­ers can nev­er do so. But I trust you to impart these poor words into a pic­ture so that oth­ers may see through your eyes what they should nev­er see through their own.”

Piat­ka paints this pic­ture in an ele­gant and open way. She and her father’s sto­ry shall not be forgotten.