Recent Vallentine-Mitchell titles
No Past Tense
Love and Survival in the Shadow of the Shoah
Kati and Willi Salcers resilience in the face of terror demonstrates how nothing can stop us from living our lives. They are the definition of inspiration.
Tony Robbins NY Times #1 Best Selling Author, Philanthropist, and the World s #1 Life and Business Strategist
No Past Tense is the biography of Katarina (Kati) Kellner and William (Willi) Salcer, two Czech Jews who as teenagers were swept up by the Holocaust in Hungary and survived Auschwitz and Mauthausen, respectively.
Covering their entire lives, weaving in first person ‘real time’ voices as if watching a documentary about themselves, the unique structure of No Past Tense provides a distinctive ‘whole life’ view of the Holocaust.
The book begins with their childhoods, education in Budapest, and 16-year-old Kati meeting 19-year-old Willi in the Jewish ghetto in Plesivec, a Slovak village annexed by Hungary in 1938. After liberation from the camps they returned to discover most Jews were gone, and the villagers did not want them back. In defiance, Kati took up residence in a shed on her family’s property, and in reclaiming what was hers, won Willi’s heart.
They lived as smugglers in post-war Europe until immigrating illegally to Palestine in 1946. Describing Palestine, they talk frankly about rarely addressed issues such as prejudice against ‘newcomers’ from other Jews. Willi built tanks for the Haganah, the underground Jewish army, and supported the War of Independence but refused to move into homes abandoned by Palestinian Arabs.
After discharge from the Israeli Air Force, Willi founded the country’s first rubber factory and headed the association of Israeli manufacturers at only 28. In 1958, saying he did not want the children to know war, Willi convinced Kati to move to America, and they finally did so in 1960. He did not tell her that punitive tax fines, imposed when the government needed money due to the crisis in the Sinai, shook his faith in Israel.
Once in America, after a few bad investments, Willi lost all their money and for the first time Kati suffered panic attacks. But Willi rebuilt his fortune, while Kati rediscovered her courage, and started living again.
October 2019, 288 pages, 30 black and white illus
978 1 912676 10 1 HB £37.50
978 1 912676 11 8 PB £14.95
978 1 912676 12 5 EB £37.50
Bashert: A Granddaughter’s Holocaust Quest
Simon’s writing makes us care about her, her grandmother, her town and her self-discovery … We learn as she learns, we engage, we remember, we cry out and we even at times laugh. Perhaps the first — or at least one of the first — of a new genre of Holocaust writing that will become more familiar and more urgent as the survivors are no longer with us.
Michael Berenbaum, Director, Sigi Ziering Institute
[A]n extraordinary book … A captivating piece of literature that artfully interlaces the personal story of Andrea and her ancestors with history. Half-way between a detective novel and the tale of a spiritual quest, Andrea keeps us on tenterhooks … Andrea Simon’s book is all the more important not only to ‘never forget’, but also to question our certitudes on what, how and why things happened.
Dr. Claire Le Foll, University of Southampton. From the Foreword.
Haunted by her grandmother’s Old World stories and larger-than-life persona, Andrea Simon undertook a spiritual search for her lost family. Her quest for truth gave tragic answers. Using newly translated archival records, she peeled back layers of clues to confront the mystery. This story of her momentous odyssey reveals the terrible fate of her kin.
From her grandmother’s village of Volchin in Belarus, she followed the trail of the death march taken by the village Jews to the place of their slaughter in 1942. During the same period, in Brona Gora forest some 50,000 Jews were shot. Simon was in one of the first American groups to visit this little-publicized site.
Mass shootings of Jews, particularly in the Soviet Union, have not been addressed with the same focus given to concentration camp atrocities. Yet Simon’s research reveals that Nazis killed nearly 50 percent of their Jewish victims by means other than gassing. Thus Simon fills a significant gap in Holocaust history by providing the most extensive report yet on the executions at Brona Gora and Volchin.
As she interweaves tragic narrative with evocative family anecdotes, Simon writes a story of life in czarist Russia and of her family’s flight from pogroms and persecution. From a unique vantage Simon’s memoir discloses her dogged genealogical search, the newly perceived Jewish history she uncovered, and the ramifications of the Holocaust in the postwar generation.
September 2019, 300 pages
978 1 912676 15 6 PB £17.95
Essentials of Jewish History
An essential reference for every home, and worthwhile cover-to-cover reading for more serious students. This book is a remarkable tour de force, spanning the breadth of four millennia of Jewish history with encyclopedic clarity. Marlon’s fascinating perspective traces unlikely continuities and discontinuities…. I think my copy will be well-worn by the time I’m done with it.
Dr. Henry Abramson, Academic Dean, Lander College of Arts & Sciences
Brandon Marlon has compiled an indispensable “Who’s Who” of Jewish leaders through the ages, from the very dawn to the present. Anyone interested in Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli history will want this reference work within ready reach, not just to fill gaps in knowledge, but for the pleasure of reading well-crafted sketches that entertain and enlighten.
Dr. Martin Kramer, Chair of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Shalem College
An extremely well-researched and comprehensive overview of the significant personalities in Jewish history from Abraham to the present. An excellent resource for both the scholar and layman of Jewish history.
Rabbi Ken Spiro, Senior Lecturer & Researcher, Aish HaTorah Jerusalem
Brandon Marlon has produced a wonderful reference book with entries from Abraham to Rabbi Sacks, ingeniously organized, with spare but provocative and enticing entries on hundreds of contributors to the Jewish adventure over the last four millennia. You’ll want a hard copy, because this is one of those books you’ll turn to on Shabbat to inform your conversations.
Dr. Richard Landes, Senior Fellow, Center for International Communications, Bar-Ilan University
Essentials of Jewish History is a comprehensive compendium for ready reference. Both a typology of leadership roles (prophets; prophetesses; high priests; Judges; kings; queens; exilarchs; courtiers; Zionists; generals; sages) and a Who’s Who, its unique value is in outlining and assembling all of these discrete categories in one convenient volume. Essentials of Jewish History is an exceptionally useful resource for scholars and laypersons alike. For knowledgeable readers, it offers the advantages of its systematic organization and inclusivity of content. For readers unfamiliar with Jewish history prior to encountering this book, it affords a newfound and solid grasp of what the first 4,000 years of Jewish history entailed.
October 2019, 550 pp
978 1 912676 18 7 HB £50.00
978 1 912676 19 4 EB £50.00
Berlin to London: An Emotional History of Two Refugees
Foreword by Tony Kushner
Esther Saraga tells a touching and disturbing story of her parents’ emigration from Germany and their lives in Britain during and after the war. She questions whether ‘gratitude’ to Britain was the emotion most expected of them, and she cringes at memories of herself colluding with the idea that her mother was ‘the silly one’. Part autobiographical, part history, this book recreates a forgotten world, full of tensions, harsh realities, but, in the end, a tale of survival and a future.
Rabbi The Baroness Neuberger DBE
Esther Saraga’s Berlin To London opens up an important conversation with her parents, Lotte and Wolja, that she never managed to have whilst they were alive. Saraga deeply regrets that, and yet the book in a way shows how the conversation with our dead never really stops. We come to understand how difficult it was for parents of children settled in another country to share the experience of forced exile. We come to see Lotte and Wolja’s experience as emblematic. They shine a light on the lives of today’s refugees the world over.
This is one of the most powerful books you will ever read in what it is to be a refugee. Essential reading for those who want to understand the personal impact of being a forced migrant – whether past or present.
Professor Tony Kushner, University of Southampton
Told in the light of injuries suffered by today’s refugees in Britain, Berlin to London, provides a marvellously engaging, but harrowing, account of the injuries suffered by Lotte and Wolja Saraga as refugees from Hitler’s Germany. So well does their daughter, Esther, convey their tale, with asides gleaned from her years of psychoanalysis and involvement in feminist and socialist politics, one can readily understand Lotte’s exasperated complaint, ‘Can’t you let history happen without you?’. No wonder Esther’s Berlin to London gives a gripping ‘politics is personal’ answer.
Janet Sayers, author of several books including Mothering Psychoanalysis and Freudian Tales
In this book the emotional journeys of two German Jewish refugees are reconstructed from a substantial collection of family papers, which are used imaginatively to explore and illuminate a wider history. The letters evoke how it felt at the time to be a refugee and express eloquently the distress and losses involved in exile, separation and internment, providing intense dynamic snapshots of how they managed their emotions from day to day through changing external events.
The author demonstrates how the themes of managing emotions, separation and loss, memory, identity, belonging and home, and coming to terms with the past, even when explored within a very specific context within this book, are relevant to the experiences of more recent migrants and refugees.
This engaging, accessible book is beautifully written, with enormous honesty and power. Fully referenced, it draws on conceptual and theoretical ideas, but the clear style and writing will appeal to the general reader as well as to students and academics.
September 2019, 272 pages, 25 b/w illus
978 1 912676 16 3 PB £14.99
978 1 912676 17 0 EB £14.99
Jerusalem in Israeli Cinema
Wanderers, Nomads and the Walking Dead
Anat Y. Zanger, Tel Aviv University
This is an original book which proposes innovative assumptions on the theme of its research – the city of Jerusalem in cinema – and is based on a rich theoretical background and on a sensitive and skilled textual analysis. Accordingly, I highly recommend it.
Professor Nurith Gertz
Jerusalem is simultaneously a real physical place and a cultural object loaded with myriad narratives and images. Cinema as a social institution records and moulds the various voices and changing modes of Jerusalem into a collective unconsciousness. This book, the first to deal with Jerusalem in Israeli cinema, aims to unravel the cinematic writing of the city as traces of memory inscribed in its symbolic geography.
Through early film to contemporary – Israeli and international, fictional and documentaries, television series and experimental video art – the book examines the city’s landmarks. Highlighting not only Jerusalem’s iconic sites, such as Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the book also explores spaces that lie between the private home and the public sphere, road blocks and the exilic home for both Jews and Palestinians, women wandering in the city and outside of it, refugees and Zombies. How is Jerusalem, a city eternally between the heavenly and the earthly, characterized and depicted? Throughout the various plots and images from Leaving Jerusalem by Railway through My Michael, Cemetery Club, Inferno and JeruZalem, constant movement is evident: the wandering and journeying movement of exiled figures to and from Jerusalem and the movement between times: histories, archives and images transforming according to social and cultural shifts.
While Jerusalem is a spatially and temporally existing place, the book exposes the mythological Israeli space, and the cracks that have appeared in it.
October 2019, 184 pages, 52 b/w illus
978 1 912676 22 4 HB £50.00
978 1 912676 23 1 EB £50.00
A Train to Palestine
The Tehran Children, Anders’ Army and their Escape from Stalin’s Siberia, 1939–1943
In October 1938 eight-year-old Josef Rosenbaum, his mother and younger sister, set out from Germany on a cruel odyssey fleeing into eastern Europe along with thousands of other refugees.
Sent to Siberian slave labor camps in the wildernesses, they suffered brutal cold, famine, and disease and hundreds perished, including Joe’s mother and sister. When Germany invaded Russia many refugees were forced out of Siberia to primitive tent camps in Uzbekistan, accompanied by the Polish army-in-exile previously imprisoned by the Soviets.
Within weeks the commander of the army, General Wladyslaw Anders, received orders to relocate his army to Iran to train to fight alongside the British in North Africa. Instructed to leave without the civilians, Anders instead ordered all evacuees, including Jews, to head southward with his troops. Joe and the refugees were again loaded on trains, accompanied by the Polish soldiers, and sent to the port of Pahlavi on the Caspian Sea. Then, transported by trucks over treacherous mountain roads, they finally arrived in Tehran where they struggled to survive in horrifying conditions.
In October 1942 the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem accepted responsibility for the nine hundred orphaned Jewish children in the camp, and by January 1943 the agency secured travel certificates for the Tehran Children to evacuate to Palestine. Joe and the other children, after five terrible years, finally reached safety at the Athlit Detention Camp, north of Haifa, on 18 February 1943.
Readers will find the story is one of the swift brutalities of war, and the suffering of civilians swept up in the maelstrom of fierce conflict. It is also a testament to courage and the human spirit to survive.
Drawing from eyewitness accounts, A Train to Palestine recreates a remarkable, and little-known story of escape and survival during the Second World War.
November 2019, 288 pages, 16 b/w images
978 1 912676 27 9 PB £18.95
978 1 912676 28 6 EB £18.95