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The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of…

The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home

by Erin Einhorn

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965186,203 (4.1)4



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I felt like this book was a good follow on after reading Neighbors, about the city in Poland where the Polish half the town murdered the Jewish half. The author travels to Poland in search of her mothers roots. To find out what happened when she was hidden as a child by a Polish family. Along the way she talks about how Poles feel about Jews today and how there is a variety of views but mostly positive feeling about the Jews. Nevertheless, feelings of Jews who left Poland, and their families who know their stories, remain resentful. And this is fair in many cases. Most young adults in Poland did not grow up with Jews because they had been chased out (or killed off). Their view, though positive, is frequently tinged with nostalgia for cultural diversity they've never experienced but imagine only the positive aspects of.

The author's story about her family and discovering that the way her mother described her childhood and how it actually was did not always match up. It is interesting how sometimes unhappy children see their past very differently that others see it. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
The Pages In Between is a tale of mothers & daughters, nationality & family, love & war and the hazards of pulling forth memories long buried. It’s the author’s own legacy of Holocaust death and survival, a sweeping epic told in intimate terms.

Erin Einhorn’s mother was born in war torn Poland in 1942. Her survival and subsequent relocation to Detroit, Michigan is the stuff of Hollywood tear-jerkers and historical reverence. Yet… why, her daughter often wondered, did she refuse to discuss it? Orphaned, left behind, shuffled between caregivers, surely there must be more to the tale than just a hand wave dismissing it all.

But we have adages for a reason and be careful what you wish for holds no greater truth than in The Pages In Between. Life’s not always simply black and white; people aren’t simply good or evil. Prejudice and old wounds can be passed on through generations; anger simmers and infects the whole pot.

The Pages In Between is an excellent look at the legacy left to those who were born to Holocaust survivors. As the years pass and more survivors die of old age, I suspect this sort of story will be told again and again. I have long been extremely interested in my own genealogical tree because my ancestors came here and purged all traces of their European selves. I’m a solid mutt, a mix of German, English and Swiss. I’d never have known this had I not gone looking, as even my own American born parents had no desire and only sketchy memories of the stories they’d heard in childhood. Searching one’s genealogy is like a giant puzzle, a personal quest with each little sliver of parchment a treasure. Ms. Einhorn never sought to become a genealogist, had no interest in the little scraps of paper, wanted only to walk the land of her mother’s birth, to see the sights her mother might have seen as a child, to illicit some emotion from her mother’s stored memories. She found, as I did, that little scraps of paper hold gigantic knowledge.

The Pages In Between reads like a novel, only getting bogged down in facts a few times, as Einhorn uncovers truths and resentments that her mother had never questioned and had probably hoped to keep buried. One is left wondering if burying the past or digging it up is the more noble; if heroism can be defined, and if we are doomed to our ingrained prejudices.

Recommended for historical fiction lovers, genealogy aficionados, memoir enthusiasts and those interested in a not-so-clear-cut rendition in the saga of the Poles & the Jews during WWII.

Review first published on Many A Quaint & Curious Volume ( )
1 vote Tasses | Dec 9, 2008 |
My review can be read here and on my blog Redlady's Reading Room.

This is a gripping and touching memoir that reads like a detective story. Erin Einhorn has always known that her mother ,who was born in Poland ,was saved from the Nazi's by a Polish Family. Erin has always been drawn to this part of her mother's past and is frustrated that her mother only shares bits and pieces based on her own memory. Memory can be elusive. We may only remember the good things and block out the past or we twist it subconsciously in our own minds to make it bearable to confront. Erin isn't sure if that memory is chosen memories or if there are things that happened in her mother's childhood that she has chosen to forget. Erin was drawn to journalism from high school and she even wrote a story in high school about her mother's past that earned her great honor. She chose to use her journalistic skills to go to Poland and to try to find the family who saved her mother's life. She was able to track down the elderly son of the woman who saved and protected her mother. Wieslaw, the son, claimed that Erin's grandfather had offered them his family home in exchange for protecting and hiding Erin's mother. The details of this exchange were unclear and confusing and this took Erin along a path to try and reveal the truth. It was difficult, as she required translators and had to find and access old records in an age old system that was difficult to navigate to find records and documents. Along the way, Erin had to deal with many painful challenges in Poland and in her own life that affected her past and present.

This book held my attention all the way through. This is also a story of a mother and daughter and their journey through life together, including the ups and the downs. Through this experience, Erin learned that her mother had a past that was difficult for her to discuss and those experiences shaped who she became as a person, a woman, wife and mother. As daughters, I believe that many of us can relate to and understand this, I know that I certainly have. I was extremely impressed by Erin's tenacity strength and perseverence to find important keys to her families past. All of this while living in a foreign country where she did not speak the language. She had to confront and deal with the past memories of the atrocities of the Holocaust and the knowledge that many of her family members were killed. For me, this story became a bit personal as I have Jewish roots and my own great grandfather came from Poland. It has inspired me to inquire more about my own family history and past. One of my great aunts is the family historian and I plan to sit down with her soon and interview her by either taping or videotaping, if she will agree! I did learn recently from this great aunt that she found out that a great-great aunt was killed during the Holocaust. This effects me deeply and personally as so many other families have been deeply touched and families and lives have been destroyed. It is estimated that over 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust and this is something that we as a nation and as part of humanity cannot EVER forget. I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Pages in Between, it is a story that will touch your heart and spark an interest in searching your own family history. ( )
  redladysbooks | Oct 16, 2008 |
A Jewish baby is born in a Polish ghetto in 1942. In an attempt to save her life, her father asks a Polish gentile woman to look after his young daughter, telling her that he'll be back after the war. Indeed he does return and these two are some of the only members of their family who survive the holocaust. The frightened little girl and her father, a stranger to her, go to Sweden for a few years and then on to the United States where this little girl grows up, marries, and becomes a mother.

Erin Einhorn, a reporter, must have known she had quite a story on her hands, or at the very least a fascinating family history, because the little girl in the story was her mother, Irene Rozenblum Einhorn. Despite her mother's long reluctance and disinterest in speaking of her past, Einhorn is determined to find out who this family is who saved her mother and made her own life possible. This story has become The Pages in Between, an honest and revealing memoir which winds up going in a direction that most holocaust writing does not. Einhorn moves to Poland and is surprised to find that in this country that was ten percent Jewish before WW2, Judaism has now become trendy. There are Jewish restaurants and trinket shops and tours one can go on.

Einhorn visits Bedzin, the previous home of her family, and quite easily finds the house they used to live in, and in it, the family that saved her mother's life, the Skowronskis. The woman who cared for her has died, but her son lives there with his family. He remembers the little girl he thought of as his sister whom they had always hoped would return for a visit. Einhorn visits the family multiple times, taking a translator with her, and over time some frustration on the part of the Skowronskis is revealed. Einhorn learns there is a problem with ownership of the house, and the Skowronskis want to collect on a promise made by Einhorn's grandfather during the war.

Einhorn tries to do what she can to help them, and it turns out to be a terribly complicated and potentially expensive legal matter. At the same time, Einhorn is struggling with the somewhat turbulent relationship she has always had with her mother as well as some life-altering news.

I found this to be a quite compelling story and I enjoyed Einhorn's personal tone throughout the book. I was very impressed with the degree to which she tried to assist the Skowronskis. I felt as though they were giving her a pretty hard time and it would have been easy for her just to walk away. It's an interesting question, really. After what happened in the Holocaust, do people really owe each other for saving a life, or was it just the right (and obviously brave) thing to do? Who should property belong to? The people it was stolen from over 60 years ago, or the people who have since made it their own?

I found this to be a fascinating and unique story and recommend it. ( )
1 vote tara35 | Sep 30, 2008 |
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Months later, wrestling the personal and historical demons my search had set free, I would look back on the first six weeks I lived in Krakow—lovely weeks spent strolling the square—and wonder if I had known something then, if a part of me had seen the future and divined the grief about to visit my family.
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In a unique, intensely moving memoir, Erin Einhorn finds the family in Poland who saved her mother from the Holocaust. But instead of a joyful reunion, Erin unearths a dispute that forces her to navigate the increasingly bitter crossroads between memory and truth.… (more)

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