WHY THIS BOOK?
by Suzanna Eibuszyc
“Hadassah-Brandeis Institute is delighted that your project “Keep Pace with the Sun: the Story of Roma Talasiewicz-Eibuszyc" has been selected to receive funding from the Hadassah–Brandeis Institute. We received many fine proposals this year; more than we are able to fund. You should be proud that the review committee feels that your mother's memoir will become an important source in the historical investigations of social history of Eastern European Jewish women and Eastern European Jewish family between 1918 - 1968."
It is said that in every survivor’s family, one child is unconsciously chosen to be a “memorial candle,” to carry on the mourning and to dedicate his or her life to the memory of the Shoah. That child takes part in the parents’ emotional world, assumes the burden, and becomes the link between past and future. I realize now that my mother chose me to be that candle.
Transmitting the memory of the vibrant culture before the Holocaust is just as important just as the memory of the Holocaust, to combat ignorance and prejudice and sharing of cultures and knowledge of history. It is my goal to bring this book out of obscurity and into a wide readership, a book, which will take its place in the curriculum at the high school and college level, while teaching the important aspects of Eastern European twentieth-century history.
There are only around 5000 Jews living in Poland today, but once Poland was the home to the largest Jewish community in Europe. The Jewish culture in Poland flourished for one thousand years. Before WWII, over 3.3 million Jews lived there, making it the second largest Jewish community in the world. WWII destroyed this community completely, devastating their distinctive culture and society. The extent of the loss was so great, so destructive; we know it as the Holocaust, the Shoah.
“Beshert is among the very few English language memoirs that recount what remains—astonishingly—the great untold story of the Holocaust.”
Atina Grossman, Professor of History
Six years ago, on the day of my mother's death, I opened the box containing her notebooks. Writing in Polish, in a shaky hand, my mother filled pages with the memories of her childhood and young adulthood in
Roma Talasowicz-Eibuszyc was born in
As a young working girl Roma began to experience the differences among classes in the Jewish community in Warsaw. She became active in the Bund movement, the Jewish Workers Party, taking part in demonstrations to fight for social equality on behalf of her generation--at times, endangering her own life.
Beshert “reads like a Jewish version of Angela’s Ashes….”
Aaron Elster, Vice President,
Beshert is a rich, living
document, a thirty-year account that reveals the life of a vibrant young woman
with hopes and dreams for a better world who lived to bear witness to
unspeakable suffering and all that she saw, felt, and thought. It is a story of sacrifice, determination,
loyalty, and love. It pays tribute to our
history and legacy that is now almost forgotten, the vibrant
Jewish culture of Eastern Europe
that was forever decimated by
the events of WWII.
It was while I was studying with Professor Eli Wiesel at the City University of New York that I began to think my mother’s life story might be worthy of being recorded. When I told him about my mother’s life he said, “Your mother must write her story. Future generations must know. You must help her to do it.”
My mother hesitated to re-enter the memories and bear the pain she suppressed for so long, but in the words of Eli Wiesel "silence is never an option", so at great risk to her sanity and her health she agreed to commit her memories to paper. She wrote in her native language, Polish, the memoir she called Beshert to honor her generation that had perished so that future generations have a way to remember the vibrant Jewish community that flourished before WWII.
When I sent the English translations of Beshert to scholars in the
A literary agency in
Beshert has been called a historical memoir and a gripping true-life story, a worthy addition to high school and college curriculums.