Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: Broken Birds

I downloaded a copy of Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila, by Jeannette Katzir, on my Kindle.  I read the book at the request of the author.
This story is a memoir that describes the lasting effects of the Holocaust on the survivors and on the children and grandchildren of the survivors. The horrors of the Holocaust send ripple effects down through the generations. 
The author's parents are children when Hitler begins his campaign of hatred and death in central Europe.  Channa, Mrs. Katzir's mother, was born in a small town in Poland.  When her family was forced to leave their home, they spent some time in a crowded ghetto.  Channa and her brother eventually fled the ghetto and spent the rest of the war living in the forest with a group of partisans.  They did anything they had to do to survive, including stealing and killing.  Nathan, the author's father, grew up in a town in Czechoslovakia.  He spent most of the war in the Auschwitz and Dalchau concentration camps.  Nathan lost his entire family and Channa and her brother were the only survivors in their family.  War is truly hell and I was shocked and disgusted by the circumstances that Channa and Nathan had to endure.  It is a miracle that they survived.
Channa and Nathan both made their way to the United States where they met and got married.  These two "broken birds" were determined to find happiness and success in their new country.  They worked hard and raised five children.  Channa was the matriarch of the family and she taught her children many lessons that she learned during her struggle to survive during the war.  She taught them that failure was unacceptable and that strangers were not to be trusted.  These lessons helped Channa survive while she was running from the Nazis, but they led to relationships that were dysfunctional and broken in our modern society.
The family members turned against each other after Channa's death.  The book describes in great detail the fighting, lawsuits and court hearings that were needed to settle Channa's estate. 
How long does it take for the curse to be broken?  How many more generations will suffer as a result of the Holocaust's atrocities?  It just takes one person to stand up and say, "It is going to stop right here and right now."  I pray that this family will be reconciled and find peace.  
I highly recommend this book to everyone.  I promise you will be counting your blessings by the time you read the last page.

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