HISTORY

My Kaddish: A Child Speaks from the Warsaw Ghetto

Cherry Orchard Dec. 2023. 200p. ed. by Simone Masson. ISBN 9798887192215. pap. $19.95. HIST/MEMOIR
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This short memoir relates Masson’s childhood experiences of the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation. Edited by her daughter, this heart-wrenching recollection views the traumatic events and close calls that punctuate the author’s memories, including witnessing her grandmother being shot to death by a Nazi soldier. Adding to her trauma was the abandonment she felt when her parents, in an effort to ensure her safety, left her with virtual strangers for months at a time. Forced to portray herself as Catholic and create a “fantasy” family to hide her Jewish heritage, she was often abused by her caretakers, who resented her presence and her being Jewish. After the war, her inner turmoil was still not over; her dangerous and unpredictable childhood left her with emotional scars that manifested themselves in often reckless and self-sabotaging behaviors that plagued her adult life. Hoping to face down some of her demons when she grew up, she traveled back to the sites of her fractured childhood.
VERDICT A brief, rare, and powerful testimony that offers a firsthand account from a survivor who was a child when she experienced the horrors inside the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto.
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