In my family when I start talking about something to do with the Holocaust, I invariably get the response “Does it have to be the Holocaust?” (usually accompanied by a groan). The comment is a reference to the anecdote from years ago about a major Hollywood studio exec (who shall be unnamed) asking that same question about the movie adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s book “Enemies, a Love Story.”
(If you have any doubt whether “Enemies, a Love Story” is about the Holocaust, here is a description of the movie version of the book from Amazon: “Herman Broder is a Holocaust survivor in postwar New York, wed out of gratitude to the peasant woman who hid him from the Nazis. He carries on a mad affair with a concentration camp survivor, only to find out that the snappish wife he thought had died in the war is miraculously alive.”)
Now in fairness I have several connections to the Holocaust even though I grew up in a small Jewish community in the Midwest where almost everyone’s parents or grandparents had come from Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuanian, etc.) around the turn of the 20th Century:
My husband and I were stationed in Munich with the U.S. Army from September 1970 to May 1972. During that time, among other events, a Waffen S.S. unit had a reunion near us and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam almost closed due to lack of funds.
When we were back in the U.S. I became the editor of the monthly literary magazine of the weekly Jewish Exponent newspaper in Philadelphia. During my six years there I published the firsthand accounts of many Holocaust survivors as well as writing reviews of nonfiction books about the Holocaust. I also had the privilege of personally interviewing such people as the French Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld.
I recently had lunch with a friend — a Jewish woman whose mother and grandmother got out of Germany before being murdered — and she believes that in 50 years the Holocaust will be forgotten in the U.S.
Whether she is right, I feel a personal responsibility to share information about the Holocaust — see my blog post “THE RED LETTER Screenplay: The One-Man Quest of a Nazi Hunter” and my blog post “Remembering the Non-Jewish Victims Murdered by the Nazis” and my blog post “Reflections on Sept. 1 of 1939 and 2016.”
And I also want to mention the compelling documentary — GERMANS & JEWS — that looks at the relationship between Germans and Jews in today’s united Germany. (The documentary was especially meaningful to me because I had just been at several of the locations in Berlin shown in the documentary.) Click here to learn more about the documentary GERMANS & JEWS.
So my answer to the question “Does it have to be the Holocaust?” is “Yes, it has to be the Holocaust.”
UPDATE: Since writing this post I have embarked on writing the Holocaust memoir SURVIVORS AND SAVIORS. Click here to read the formal proposal for this book project.
© 2016 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at email@example.com
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller
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