Like a lot of people, through most of my life, I have had a passing interest in World War II. I have read many books and, like a lot of people have seen my share of films about it. It would be an understatement, to be sure, to say that World War II represented and still represents a defining moment in the modern history of mankind, both for good, and for bad. It’s my belief that mankind, though bruised, has come away from it the better in many ways.
I grew up just after World War II and I had five uncles who served and Thank G-D came back without any serious injuries, there was a lot of talk about individual experience. I listened with wide-eyed wonder and the pride of a young boy. As I got older and the discussions got shorter and shorter, and I recognized that one aspect of the war was always conspicuously absent from most of these discussions, The Holocaust. Perhaps because we as a family didn’t know anyone (or so it seemed) affected by The Holocaust it was never discussed.
About two years ago I was shown a collection old photos, most of which were of members of my family. Family I knew nothing about. The photos had been turned into postcards and mailed from Germany to my grandmother in Brooklyn. Most of the postcards were from the late 1920s and 1930s. They were written either in German or Yiddish and needed to be translated.
I had heard this family name growing up and knew it was my grandmother’s maiden name. I vaguely knew my father had a cousin that was a doctor who lived nearby in the Bronx, but that was all I knew. I translated enough information to start to find out about these people. They became more to me then just pictures – they were my family.
In the course of my searching I went online to Yad Vashem and looked for the family name. To my amazement I learned that I had lost members of this, MY family at Auschwitz. This was now personal! I was more amazed to find that there is a survivor that lives in upstate New York. Through her I learned I have a cousin in Israel as well. Each of them has children and grandchildren. A whole branch of my family that had been lost to me is now found.
As an adult and a Jew, and now that it IS personal, I have much more then a passing interest in The Holocaust. I read books and articles and on occasion listen to survivors speak. I am amazed and in awe of these people and their stories of survival.
World War II and The Holocaust have been over for more then sixty years. Survivors are becoming fewer with each passing day. I believe there are many stories of bravery and heroism among Holocaust survivors still to be told.
With that in mind I have started Gihon River Press. It is my intention to publish memoirs and biographies by and about Holocaust survivors. Specifically I am looking for stories of people who saved or were saved by others, both Jews and non-Jews alike. I am interested in manuscripts and self- published books that have some historical significance and would resonate with main stream audiences.