Shmuel’s Bridge: Following the Tracks to Auschwitz with My Survivor Father

Imagine. Mar. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9781623545123. $24.99. BIOG
At first blush, this latest work by poet Sommer (Portulans) would appear to be similar to other Holocaust memoirs. However, Sommer takes readers on a different type of journey by exploring his father’s Holocaust experience and giving an account of traveling to Eastern Europe together in 2001. The goal of their trip was to learn the exact location where his father’s brother, Shmuel, died. Years later, as his father, Jay, begins to experience cognitive decline, the author uses videos of their trip to Eastern Europe and old photographs to stir up memories. This is the poignant story he tells readers, bringing them from his childhood in the Bronx to tracing his family’s footsteps in Budapest and Munich. Throughout the book, Sommer provides insight about extended family and their own Holocaust survival stories, while also offering a glimpse of his complicated relationship with his father. The author helpfully includes maps, photographs, and verses of his poetry to help tell the story.
VERDICT A poignant and moving personal history warmly told through reminisces, poetry, and photographs. It will spark the curiosity of those interested in Jewish and European history.
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