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Jona Oberski

Author of A Childhood

Includes the names: J. Oberski, Oberski Jona

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Jona Oberski was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Jewish parents who had escaped Nazi Germany the previous year. Then in 1940, Germany invaded and occupied Holland in World War II. Jona, still a toddler, was rounded up with his parents and deported to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. He survived the war, but both his parents died. After the war, Jona was cared for by the family of one of his father's former colleagues, and went to school. At university, he studied physics and became a nuclear and particle research physicist at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics and Higher Energy Physics in Amsterdam. He is married to Froukje Slijper, a psychoanalyst, and has three sons, two from an earlier marriage. In the 1970s, he participated in a poetry workshop, which inspired him to write about his experiences in the Holocaust. His memoir Kinderjaren (A Childhood) was first published in 1978 in The Netherlands and translated into more than a dozen other languages. It was adapted into a 1993 Italian-French film called Jona che visse nella balena (Jonah Who Lived in the Whale), also released as Look to the Sky. Dr. Oberski has published two more literary works, a novella called De ongenode gast (The Uninvited Visitor, 1995) and De eigenaar van niemandsland (The Proprietor of No Mans Land, 1997), and contributed columns and articles to magazines. In addition, he has published scholarly articles related to his physics research.
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