The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home by Erin Einhorn
We've all read those amazing stories about children rescued from the Jewish Ghettos during World War II, right? But what we don't find out is what happened to them AFTER they were rescued? After the war ended? After life "went back to normal"? If you're like me, you never even really wondered about it. I mean, they made it through ALIVE ... what else could you ask for?
Erin's mother, Irena, was spirited out of a Polish ghetto at age 3. She lived in two foster homes before her father was able to come for her and take her to the US when she was 9 years old. Erin grew up knowing this but not much else about her mother's past; Irena wouldn't say more, only that she "was always loved".
As a young adult Erin decides to go to Poland and Sweden to find the two foster families who took young Irena in. But it isn't as simple as all that. Finding the first foster family and lands her smack-dab in the middle of a land dispute involving her grandfather's house.
I don't want to give anything away here, so I won't give you any more plot details. Suffice it to say that this is a fantastic book. It's an engrossing memoir that sheds light on subjects that I simply had no clue about. I've read lots of memoirs about the war itself, about the ghettos, about the survivors and the victims and the rescuers, but I've NEVER read what happened to the survivors - specifically the children - after the war ended. Or what happened to the foster families who had to give up these children after years of caring for and/or hiding them.
Wondering where the title comes from? I absolutely love this quote from early on in the book, where Erin learns something about her mother's childhood that doesn't fit with what she's always heard:
... hearing it that day for me was like picking up a book I'd read a hundred times and realizing there were pages stuck together, pages that, when pried apart, revealed an entirely new drama. The pages in between changed everything.Can you imagine that? Think of your favorite book, and add something to it. What if you suddenly found out that Mr. Darcy had been married before, or that Jane only married him because she was rejected by her true love and had nowhere else to go ... Pride and Prejudice just wouldn't be the same book!
I couldn't put this book down! I carried it with me everywhere (which led to this problem). I highly recommend this one - in fact, it ranks as one of my all-time-favorite books this year. It's cliche to say, but "it reads like a novel".
I envy Erin for having the guts (and the ability) to search out her mother's past the way she did. She's the type of person I'd love to have over for dinner for the excellent conversation that is sure to follow.
This book was just released on Sept. 9, 2008. If you do read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts so please post a comment. And if you've reviewed it please post a link to your review so I can add it here.
Random Wonder enjoyed it, and had some experiences with family history research herself