11 Adar 5784 / Tuesday 20 February 2024
Maybe you know me.
Maybe you were among the millions of readers who attended my wedding in Wilmington, Delaware, in James McBride's classic 1995 memoir The Color of Water. In the epilogue you learned about my mother, who hid for 14 months in the sewers of German-occupied Lviv in what is now western Ukraine, saved by Polish Catholic sewer workers.
Or you saw Agnieszka Holland's Oscar-nominated 2011 movie In Darkness, a dramatization of my mother's survival story. Or you recall my 1986 review of Art Spiegelman's Maus in The Wall Street Journal.
Maybe you remember my trilogy of cover stories about my parents in The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday magazine: A Bird in the Wind, on Mother's Day 1983, which historian Michael Berenbaum considered "the best article ever written about a survivor"; Journey To My Father's Holocaust, which made me a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing; and Speaking for the Ghosts, about my 1992 trip to my mother's hometown in the Carpathian Mountains just after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Eight years ago, I made an exciting discovery while cleaning out my childhood home in Wilmington: Four notebooks filled with 167 handwritten pages of original Polish poetry and prose written by my mother in the sewer. Stay tuned for news about the publication of this material.
This website honors two Jews who emerged from the depths of hell. George endured both Auschwitz and Buchenwald, then had a long career as an engineer with the Du Pont Co. in Wilmington, taking a break in March 1965 to testify at the Auschwitz war-crimes trials in Frankfurt. After her ordeal in the sewers of Lviv, Halina became a Jewish educator and the first survivor of the Nazis to speak in English across the United States, making 40 appearances in 30 cities from 1949 to 1953. They met in the U.S. in 1950, and I was born five years later. You'll find much more here under PARENTS.
I retired from The Philadelphia Inquirer in May 2020. During four decades as a journalist in Philadelphia, I've explored my parents' lives and other matters concerning the Holocaust. In addition to my three magazine articles about my parents, my work exposed former Nazis in the U.S., including ethnic leaders in the Republican Party. I examined how a Swiss financier of fascism used Nazi funds to promote postwar Arab terrorism. You can read all of it here.
Along the way, I've accumulated a significant collection of relevant documents and photographs -- some of which are disturbing -- and I've begun to publish them here under EVIDENCE. You'll find 19 photos shot by German soldiers when they entered Lviv in 1941, and 23 original four-page questionnaires required of Jewish medical professionals in Lviv and western Ukraine in 1941-42. More material coming soon.
These days I also host a free monthly Zoom program featuring significant authors presented by Sons & Daughters of Holocaust Survivors of Greater Philadelphia, a group founded in 1979 of which I've been a proud member for four decades. Our program listings are found here, and the recorded programs are on my YouTube channel.
I invite you to add your email address below to join the nearly 2,000 subscribers worldwide who receive my free monthly newsletter, archived here under THOUGHTS. You'll get an automated email to confirm your subscription. Thank you.