Julie Meadows 2
Title: Memory guide my hand: An anthology of autobiographical writing by members of the Melbourne Jewish Community, volume 2
Author: Julie Meadows
Publisher: Makor Jewish Community Library
Place of publication: Melbourne
Year of Publication: 2000
Location of Book: Rare Books Collection, Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University Clayton Campus
Cities/town/camps: China: Shanghai, Poland:Lodz, Warsaw, Majdanek, Tlumacz, Jazlowic, Radosc, Germany: Berlin, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Oppeln, Latvia: Riga, England: London, Hungary: Budapest, France: Paris
Note: those cities/towns/camps underlined are those which are most central to the narrative
Memory Guide My Hand Volume 2 is the second in a series of anthologies published by the Makor Jewish Community Library as a part of their “Write Your Story” project. The project facilitated the writing of autobiographies by members of the Melbourne Jewish community. Many wrote books which were published. This volume, 341 pages in length, contains some short autobiographical stories, and some excerpts from full books that have been published separately. It contains thirty-eight diverse and varied stories, nineteen of which are about the war years and are written by Holocaust survivors. It is these nineteen that will be briefly summarised here:
Hania Ajzner: Revenant (p10-19)
Ajzner tells of her apprehensive return to Poland in 1993. By going to Majdanek, the most likely site of her father’s death, Ajzner comes to grips with his memory.
Eva Balogh: Night in a ‘safe house’ in Budapest (p24-29)
Balogh was sent to live with the mother of her family’s domestic servant. She describes her subsequent journey to Budapest where she sought refuge with her cousin in their grandparents’ ‘safe house’.
Elza Bernstein: A Memoir of the German Occupation: 1941-1944 (p42-55)
Bernstein left Tlumacz, southern Poland, in 1941 after the arrest of her husband by a German collaborator. She tells the story of her survival in hiding in Jazlowic until liberation by the Russians. Her piece was translated from Polish by Maria Censor.
Maria Censor: My Autumn of 1943 (p66-69)
Censor tells of her arrest in Radosc and her journey to Warsaw, where her captors released her. She then relates her dangerous trip back to Radosc, where she was fortunate enough to survive.
Paulette Goldberg-Szabason: My Little Suitcase 51cm x 76cm (p86-91)
The story of Goldberg’s coming to Australia from Paris. Her father was deported to Poland in 1938 and her mother was taken away in 1942. Both were never seen again. She arrived in Melbourne in 1954.
Anna Hearsch: Back to Poland – 1946 (p112-119)
Hearsch escaped from Lodz to Russia and was there for the duration of the war. In 1956 she migrated to France.
Floris Kalman: Moves (p120-129)
In July 1942, Kalman went into hiding in Belgium. She briefly details her various moves around Belgium while in hiding.
Sonia Kempler: Two Children on a Train (p130-141)
After Kristallnacht, Kempler’s father, uncle and cousin were rounded up by the Germans and taken to Buchenwald. They were released after ‘proof’ was shown that they had papers to leave Germany, but they went into hiding in Leipzig before finding a way into Belgium. Kempler, nine years old at the time, describes her escape with her young brother into Belgium.
Henri Korn: The German Sergeant (p142-151)
Leaving Brussels on May 10, 1940, Korn and his family failed to arrive behind Allied lines. Befriended by a German sergeant who knew that they were Jewish and insisted on helping to get them to safety, arrangements are made for Korn and family to go safely back to Belgium, where Korn survived the war.
Helen Leperere: Love, the Conqueror (p164-171)
Imprisoned in a German labour camp, Leperere tells of the Allied prisoners who worked near them and the correspondence between her friends and the English prisoners, which resulted in two of her friends marrying soldiers after the war.
Eva Marks: Journey Without Destination (p172-179)
Marks left Austria after the Anschluss and ended up in Riga, Latvia. Holding German passports, the Marks family were considered enemy aliens by the Russians and put in a Siberian gulag until 1947.
Stefa Robin: The Weaver’s Daughter (p216-225)
Robin describes her experiences in Lodz before and during the war. She tells of her experiences of Polish anti-Semitism, the death of her father, and she finishes by vividly recalling a deportation of children and old people from the Lodz ghetto.
Elfie Rosenberg: Growing up Among Strangers (p225-233)
Rosenberg and her sister left Germany in 1939 for safety in England. She was reunited nearly eight years later with her family in Paris.
Marianne Roth: A Serene Childhood (p240-247)
Roth details her pleasant childhood in Oppeln, Germany. She describes her community and family as they were before everything was destroyed by the Nazis.
Kate Rotman: Kate’s Story (p248-257)
Rotman describes the gradual increase in persecution of Jews during her childhood in Berlin, and her resulting emigration to Australia during those tumultuous times.
Polina Rossou: Two Days with my Father (p258-263)
Rossou, her mother, and their family left their home town of Tiraspol, Moldova, in June 1941, fearing that, as it was close to the Rumanian border, it would soon become unsafe. Rossou describes her father’s visit on leave from the Russian army, the last time that she saw him.
Vera Schreiber: My Kindergarten – Bergen-Belsen (p284-291)
Schreiber recalls and comes to grips with her experiences as a very young child in the Bergen-Belsen death camp. From Bergen-Belsen, Schreiber was taken to Switzerland, where she first experienced freedom.
Lily Skall – Vienna to Shanghai (p292-299)
Skall tells of her escape from Vienna, Austria, to Shanghai, China in early 1940, following the gradual increase in anti-Semitism in her home country.
Hannah Sweetman: By a Miracle (p300-307)
Sweetman tells of her family’s departure from Berlin to London on false papers after Kristallnacht in 1938. Her parents then sent her, as a young child, to live with relatives in America as they feared that England, like Poland, might fall to Germany. They were reunited five and a half years later, after the war had ended.