While Ruthie had shared her story, Manci’s silence about it, even with family, inspired Seymour, her son-in-law, to record her memories. At the start of each chapter, he establishes the political and cultural context before transcribing the sisters’ testimonies as witnesses, survivors, and Americans. The emphasis on the women’s post-Holocaust lives, and their interpretations of the past, distinguish this memoir. For example, Manci distances herself from her memories, whereas Ruthie chooses to educate the next generation through writings and speeches. Details about leisure time in retirement support the overall message of finding joy in life.
Seymour’s research shows in his skillful contextualization of the sisters’ stories, and their dialogue flows smoothly without the interviewer getting in the way. They provide accounts that are often absent from school textbooks—sharing stories, for example, of how Auschwitz captives were drugged to ensure submission, or the brave unit of workers who smuggled in gunpowder and blew up a crematorium. This urgent memoir offers new light on one of history’s darkest moments and stands firmly against deniers’ rejections of documented history. Seymour gives voice to Manci’s and Ruthie’s courage and survival as well as their incredible bond that testifies to the strength of the human spirit.
Takeaway: A riveting firsthand account of two sisters’ survival of the Holocaust and Auschwitz.
Great for fans of: Judy Batalion’s The Light of Days, Viktor Frankl.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A