No Good­byes: A Father-Daugh­ter Mem­oir of Love, War and Resurrection

Naa­va Piatka
  • Review
By – September 13, 2011
Naa­va Piatka’s No Good­byes is about a dif­fi­cult father and the daugh­ter who loved him even though he often treat­ed her harsh­ly, fly­ing into rages for no appar­ent rea­son. After the war, he and his wife, the actress Chaya Rosen­thal, set­tled in South Africa where the author was born and raised. Her moth­er, who had been a famous actress in the Vil­na Ghet­to The­atre, became a star of the Yid­dish The­atre and trav­eled around the world per­form­ing. With her charis­mat­ic moth­er often away, it was her father who actu­al­ly brought her up. He was alter­nate­ly lov­ing and cru­el, falling into insane rages and beat­ing her. He was an enig­ma to her: how could he be so lov­ing and then so cru­el? It was only late in his life, dur­ing long sum­mer vis­its sit­ting by her pool in Boston in the 1990’s, that Piatka’s father final­ly told her his sto­ry, reveal­ing the trau­mas and ordeals he had under­gone dur­ing the Holo­caust, includ­ing time spent in hard labor camps and on the Death March. Piat­ka is a great sto­ry teller, and while the tale is some­what dis­joint­ed and one could use a score card to keep track of all the char­ac­ters, this is a fan­tas­tic read — not only enter­tain­ing but also a mov­ing com­ing to terms with the lega­cy of the hor­rif­ic past.
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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