Letters From the Lost

Letters From the Lost

A Memoir of Discovery

Book - 2010
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On March 15, 1939, Helen Waldstein's father snatched his stampedexit visa from a distracted clerk to escape from Prague with his wifeand child. As the Nazis closed in on a war-torn Czechoslovakia, onlyletters from their extended family could reach Canada through thebarriers of conflict. The Waldstein family received these letters asthey made their lives on a southern Ontario farm, where they learned tobe Canadian and forget their Jewish roots.

Helen Waldstein read these letters as an adult - this changedeverything. As her past refused to keep silent, Helen followed thetrail of the letters back to Europe, where she discovered livingwitnesses who could attest to the letters' contents. She has hereinterwoven their stories and her own into a compelling narrative ofsuffering, survivor guilt, and overcoming intergenerational obstacleswhen exploring a traumatic past.

Publisher: Edmonton, AB : Athabasca University Press, c2010
ISBN: 9781897425534
Branch Call Number: 940.5318 WAL
Characteristics: xiv, 280 p. : ill., map, ports. ; 23 cm


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Cdnbookworm Feb 14, 2013

This book is a compilation of letters from Helen's relatives that never made it out of the Czech Republic to safety and most of whom died in the Holocaust. There is also a few letters from an uncle that survived the camps, but was utterly changed by them. More than the letters, the book describes Helen's parents' own flight to Canada, their struggles to make a living in their adopted country, and the silence they maintained about the lost family. Helen describes this well, including her own experiences with exclusion and her gradual interest in the past. She talks about her research, her visits to the Czech Republic, searching for news of her family and revisiting family homes and memories. A moving book, open and honest about the difficulties and the rewards of such a search.

Jan 10, 2012

A wonderful, touching look at one family who managed to escape from Europe right before WWII. The author has a box of letters from those lost family members who did not have the fortune to escape. This is a testament to the strength, courage and love of a family facing an almost unbelievable fate.

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