I don’t normally recommend anything I haven’t watched or read, but I’ll make an exception this time as this is a special day and a special story. So please bear with me… Today’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day and I want to bring to light a book I was recently introduced to.
“Of Bitter Herbs and Sweet Confections” is a novel written by Susan Shalev, it is based on the real recordings of her mother-in-law, which happens to be my boss’s grandmother. I don’t think I ever met someone who endured the atrocities of the Holocaust, but as I see my boss sitting across the table from me and telling of his grandma’s recordings and the tiniest details she remembered even in her old age, I felt I had to help out and share this story. And I’ve seen a great deal of documentaries and films, and read books and saw images and videos and I’m infuriated and heartbroken, but it’s not nearly enough to grasp these murderous times as told from someone who’s endured them. Stories don’t fade and people are remembered and thank heavens for recordings and documentation for us next generations to remember.
Book synopsis via Goodreads
“Of Bitter Herbs and Sweet Confections is a fictionalized memoir, which tells the moving story of Tanya, a Jewish teenager forced to flee her Polish hometown in order to escape the Nazis. Tanya’s sweeping odyssey of changing fortunes, taking her across thousands of kilometers far away from the death camps of Europe, is both heartrending and heartwarming. This inspiring story of survival, resilience and optimism in the face of adversity, based on true events, is a Holocaust novel with a difference, which opens a unique window onto a lesser-known facet of this horrific chapter in history.”
Susan Shalev meshed reality with bits of fiction to immortalize a story extremely close to home. And I think it is worthy of praise and a proper introduction to book lovers in our blogosphere.
I’m a firm believer that stories such as Tanya’s should be treasured and need to be forwarded to as many people as possible because they are the way we remember – Every person, every story, every detail, every memory. I hope you read this with only heartfelt thoughts.
2 thoughts on “Of Bitter Herbs and Sweet Confections”
As the older generations come towards the end of their lives, it becomes a world where nobody was there to witness these terrible events, but many of us still need to talk about them. And I hope we continue to. History is our greatest teacher, with endless wisdom.
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Well said, Paul!