Marianne Szegedy-Maszak has an interesting story to tell.
Her memoir of her parents war time relationship, I Kiss Your Had Many Times: Heart, Souls And Wars in Hungary is one of the most fascinating and different Holocaust stories that has been published.
Her mother’s grandfather, Manfred Weiss, was a Hungarian Jewish industrialist who, in his own time, owned multiple factories. His family was known as intellectuals and artists who entertained the who’s who of their day. His children and grandchildren were assimilated Jews, several of whom converted to Catholicism. Despite the fact that most of the family were practicing Catholics, they were labeled as Jews by the Nazis. Her father, who survived Dachau, was a diplomat who worked with the Nazis before becoming a vocal Anti-Fascist.
Based up a series of letters written between her parents from 1940 to 1947, this book is a powerful and evocative family memoir in addition to being a unique addition to a very long list of Holocaust related books.
I liked this book. The author is extremely detail oriented, using the first few chapters to introduce the readers to her mother’s very large family. But the book really gets going when the war starts and and the family begins to realize that their recent conversion to Catholicism may not be enough to save them from the concentration camps and the gas chambers.
I recommend this book.
The Holocaust is such a powerful and overwhelming subject that sometimes, it seems almost impossible to make it human and real.
Gwen Edelman’s new book, The Train To Warsaw, starts 40 years after the end of World War II. Jascha and Lilka met and fell in love in the Warsaw Ghetto. Escaping the ghetto separately, they reunite in London. Four decades after the war, Jascha has become a celebrated novelist. He has been invited back to Warsaw to give a reading of his book. While Lilka is eager to go and wants to relive her childhood, Jascha refuses, for he sees no reason to return.
Lilka wins and they travel in the middle of bitterly cold December back to Warsaw. Intertwined in their intimate conversations are the memories of their lives before and during the war, the family, friends and neighbors whose lives were taken and the Poles who were eager to work with the Nazis in reaching their goals. A secret is revealed towards the end of the novel, causing the characters to wonder if they can still trust each other.
I’ve read many Holocaust books, but this book is different. It is intimate and human. Instead of dealing the very daunting subject of the Holocaust as a whole, Ms. Edelman focuses on her two main characters who have different memories of their lives in Warsaw. Lilka and Jascha’s relationship feels normal and loving, despite the hardships they have endured.
I recommend this book.