A Silence That Speaks: A Family Story Through and Beyond the Holocaust (2nd Revised edition)

A Silence That Speaks: A Family Story Through and Beyond the Holocaust (2nd Revised edition)

By: Susan Soyinka (author)Paperback

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Susan's mother, Lucy Fowler nee Smetana, was a Viennese Jew who fled to Nottingham, England, in 1938 to flee Nazi persecution. She lost most of her immediate family, but spoke little of her experiences for decades. In 1995, Susan learned for the first time of other members of the extended family who had survived and were now scattered around the world. Thus began an 18-year search for her mother's family, and for the story of what had happened to them during that dreadful era. She also travelled back two hundred years into her family's past, uncovering in the process an oral family history claiming descent from the Czech composer, Bedrich Smetana. Just as she was completing her research, she was the astonished recipient of some 3,000 pages of Nazi documents sent by the Austrian State Archives, fromwhich she learnt the fate of several family members. She also learnt the details of the arrest of her grandmother and aunt in France, and their deportation to Auschwitz. Richly illustrated with archive photographs and rare historical documents, this biography and family history spanning eight generations is an extraordinary story of one family's struggle to deal with the impact and the legacy of the Holocaust. It is also a Holocaust memoir which offers a unique insight into the inner workings of the Nazi regime in Austria. Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the Shoah Foundation Institute, writes in his Foreword: "In this remarkable book, Susan...was able to give names to the nameless, faces to the faceless - and restore the wholeness of a family the Nazis had intended to destroy...It restores life where there was death, presence where there was absence, roots where identity was lost, hope where there was despair."

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About Author

Susan Soyinka has worked as a teacher, lecturer, and researcher, spending 10 years of her early career in West Africa. On her return to England, she retrained as an educational psychologist, and after discovering her Jewish roots, worked for nine years in the Jewish community in London. Retirement has given her the time and energy to develop a new career as a writer. Her first book, From East End to Land's End, The Evacuation of Jews' Free School, London, to Mousehole in Cornwall during World War Two, was described by Aumie Shapiro, author of the Jewish East End photographic series, as an "extraordinary, significant story of inter-faith and community harmony. A magnificent achievement." Other reviews of From East End to Land's End include: "This exceptional book is incredibly well-researched and is of huge general as well as Jewish interest", BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. "A piece of scholarship with a strongly beating heart", Keith Richards, Former Chair, Third Age Trust. "Painstakingly researched and delivered with real empathy, this fascinating and emotionally-charged book is a sparkling and illuminating read from start to finish", Simon Parker, Editor, Living Cornwall, Western Morning News.


Family Tree: The Descendants of Josef and Cacilie Smetana; Foreword By Stephen D. Smith Mbe; Preface; Chapter 1: A JOURNEY IN TIME: THE SEARCH BEGINS; Chapter 2: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION; My mother's immediate family; The Smetana Family; The Weinberger Family; Chapter 3: AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS A WORLD AWAY; The Family of Otto Smetana; The Steininger Family; The Family of Karl Smetana; Chapter 4: JOSEF SMETANA'S ANCESTRY: AN INNKEEPER'S SON OR SON OF A COMPOSER? Was Josef Smetana related to the composer? The Smetany/Smetana Family of Ungarisch Brod; Reflections on ancestral bonds; Chapter 5: THE JEWISH COMMUNITIES OF BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA; Chapter 6: THE NAZI MACHINE IN AUSTRIA; Introduction; Nazi Germany and the Anschluss; The process of Aryanisation in Austria; The estate of Fritz Smetana; Forms and standard letters used during Aryanisation; Offices, departments and organisations dealing with Jewish matters; Officials involved; Other terms and phrases associated with the Nazi era; Extracts of Nazi correspondence; Chapter 7: THE LIFE AND FATE OF JOSEF AND CACILIE SMETANA; Building a new life: family and business; The fate of Josef and Cacilie under the Nazis; Fitting memorials; Chapter 8: THE TRAGIC LIFE OF FRITZ SMETANA; Promising beginnings; Commemoration in San Marino; A lonely end; Chapter 9: IN SEARCH OF BERTA SMETANA; The Weinbergers; Berta: who was she? Flight from Vienna; "Tante Berthe was a good woman"; Le Devoir de Memoire; Chapter 10: MY MOTHER'S LIFE IN VIENNA (1919-1938); Childhood in Hietzing; Growing up in central Vienna; Escape to England; Chapter 11: MY MOTHER'S LIFE IN ENGLAND: LIVES ENTWINED; Early days; An unusual family life; A return to roots; Chapter 12: A LIFE OF MY OWN? Chapter 13: END OF AN ERA; Post-Script: Butterflies and Other Coincidences; Appendices 1 to 14: Translation Of Documents; Appendix 15: A NOTE ON CZECH JEWISH GENEALOGY; Jewish Vital Records in Bohemia and Moravia; The Czech Memorial Scrolls; List Of Illustrations; Bibliography; Sources, Credits And Acknowledgements.

Product Details

  • publication date: 08/03/2013
  • ISBN13: 9780957561403
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 210
  • ID: 9780957561403
  • weight: 302
  • ISBN10: 0957561407
  • edition: 2nd Revised edition

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