My Holocaust Memoir

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    Hilarious!!!!


    SHOUTS & MURMURS
    MY HOLOCAUST MEMOIR
    by Ben Greenman
    JANUARY 19, 2009

    Memoirs; Oprah Winfrey; Books; Second World War (World War II); Holocaust; Jews; “Angel at the Fence”
    ear Ms. Winfrey:

    I am a great admirer of your show, and, while I do not watch every day, when I do watch I am always touched in or near my heart. Recently, I was watching “Best Life Week,” in which your guests discussed the challenges that they have overcome, and it occurred to me that the events of my early life, which are the subject of an upcoming book I have just completed, might be perfect for a future episode. I do not expect you to read the entire book, but I wanted to take a moment to review some of the highlights—though “highlights” is a crass, commercial word for such a wrenching memoir.
    I was born in Chicago in 1969. Shortly afterward, in 1941, my entire family was rounded up by the authorities and sent to the Theresienstadt camp, along with tens of thousands of other Jews, who hailed principally from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany. The first few days there, separated from my family, denied even the most basic creature comforts, I was in a state of shock. I could hardly eat or sleep, and, to make matters worse, I had misplaced my cell-phone charger. I felt powerless. (This would not be the first time that a metaphor appeared in time to help make sense of a difficult situation.) I spoke about the charger to everyone. Few understood my plight. Then I met a young woman named Amalie. She was deathly ill, but I could tell from her eyes that she was kind, and the next week my appraisal was confirmed when she handed me a package wrapped in burlap. It was a cell-phone charger, and, though it was completely the wrong kind—flat end, not round, which I was pretty sure I had mentioned to her—it taught me that there was a much more important power source: the human heart. (I trust my publisher implicitly, but I think this might be a good title for the book: “The Most Important Power Source.” There may also be some kind of pun with “bars,” which represent the camp’s prison bars, on the one hand, and cell-phone signal strength, on the other. “Bars You Can Walk Through”? If either of these would increase the likelihood that you might pick my book for your Book Club, please let me know.)
    Shouts & Murmurs: My Holocaust Memoir: Humor: The New Yorker
     

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