My Mother's Holocaust Story
Free Press, Paperback, 9781416541707, 300pp.
Publication Date: June 12, 2007
For nearly fifty years, Sala Kirschner kept a secret: She had survived five years as a slave in seven different Nazi work camps. Living in America after the war, she kept hidden from her children any hint of her epic, inhuman odyssey. She held on to more than 350 letters, photographs, and a diary without ever mentioning them. Only in 1991, on the eve of heart surgery, did she suddenly present them to Ann, her daughter, and offer to answer any questions Ann wished to ask.
When Sala first reported to a camp in Geppersdorf, Germany, at the age of sixteen, she thought it would be for six weeks. Five years later, she was still at a labor camp and only she and two of her sisters remained alive of an extended family of fifty.
Sala's Gift is a heartbreaking, eye-opening story of survival and love amidst history's worst nightmare.
"Kirschner allows her mother's poignant story to emerge from these
heartbreaking missives, filling in the gaps with a dignified, quietly eloquent
connecting narrative...[an] incredible journey through hell and back."
-- Kirkus (starred review)
"Sala Kirschner spent five years as a slave in Nazi camps as a teen. Now her
daughter has gathered Sala's vintage snapshots and the letters that reached
her in the camps into a moving volume."
"Evidence of humanity in the face of terrible conditions and of the religious
faith and ritual that persisted despite the Nazi campaign to eliminate the
-- The New York Times Book Review
"Sala's unique, stirring end-of-life gift are the letters and photos she
received from her sister Raizel when Sala was a slave laborer.... A touching,
interesting, and valuable history, one in which the personalities of the
principals shine through the wretchedness."
-- Jewish Book World