As the years pass, the number of Holocaust survivors who lived to tell their first-hand stories dwindles. At this point, it is only the child survivors who are still alive to speak their truth.
Tova Friedman is one of these child survivors. Her new memoir, The Daughter of Auschwitz: My Story of Resilience, Survival and Hope, co-written with Malcolm Brabant and with a foreword by Ben Kingsley, was published earlier this month. Born in 1938, her earliest years were defined by antisemitism, poverty, violence, and destruction. She saw things that no child should ever see.
By age four, Tova and her mother were sent to Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Her father was sent to Dachau. What she experienced in the camp was imminently worse than anything she had seen previously. Though she and both of her parents could have been murdered any number of times, all three of them were liberated and found one another.
Now in her early 80’s, Tova is a wife, mother, grandmother, and lecturer. Her mission is to educate about the Holocaust, to make sure that it never happens again.
What makes this book so powerful is her memories. Though the events are nearly a century old, the images are as potent and brutal as if it were yesterday. It is a reminder that this happened in many people’s lifetimes.
Included in the book are pictures. Among them is an image of one of her aunts. Her aunt was liberated from the camps only to be murdered in a pogrom a year later. It is hard to see, but an important reminder of what prejudice can do to us.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Daughter of Auschwitz: My Story of Resilience, Survival and Hope is available wherever books are sold.