The choice: Poland, 1939-1945

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Schocken Books, Aug 3, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 229 pages
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A Holocaust survivor’s powerful story of escape and renewal. In 1980, at the age of fifty, Irene Eber returned to her father’s hometown of Mielec, Poland, where she and her middle-class Jewish family had first gone in 1938 when they were expelled one evening from their home in Germany. Her journey back would unleash a life’s worth of memories, and the result is this extraordinary book. Eber re-creates life in wartime Mielec: the rivalries and opportunism, the acts of courage and generosity, the constant fear borne by the Jewish community, and the moment in 1942 when the Germans marched all of Mielec’s Jews out of town and toward the death camps. And she reveals what was perhaps the defining decision of her life: when an opportunity arose for her to escape, Irene left, despite her father’s desperate wish that the family stay together. Thus began her life-long journey toward reconciling her lifesaving grasp at freedom with her heartbreaking separation from her family, setting her on a path to self-acceptance. In describing her survivor’s guilt, despair, and loss—and how she has managed to overcome them while still honoring her past—Irene Eber has made a significant and profoundly moving contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.

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About the author (2004)

Irene Eber is Louis Frieberg Professor of East Asian Studies (emeritus) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Senior Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in 1966 at Claremont Graduate University in California. She is the author or editor of six scholarly books on Chinese history and thought. She lives in Jerusalem.