"How can we make sense of being born and growing up in the shadows of the Shoah without being able to speak about the unspeakable terror that killed so many in our families? As the second generation we were rarely to hear stories of love and loss or to participate in the mourning of so many who had been brutally murdered. Rather we were to grow up 'normally', and to learn to turn our backs on the past as we struggled towards future identities while imagining ourselves 'like everyone else'. Fearful of difference we were often ambivalent about Jewish identities that could threaten a sense of 'Englishness'." Exploring the painful dynamics of personal identity and belonging, Victor Jeleniewski Seidler shares the difficulties of memory. How is it possible ever really to belong and feel safe and yet remember what happened to Jewish families in Poland? How can one remember without feeling overwhelmed by the terror? Crossing boundaries in a journey to Poland enabled the author to rethink a relationship between Judaism and modernity, as well as to reflect on the painful histories between Poles and Jews. Questions about memory, identity and belonging touch the lives of many people who live in the shadows of historical trauma. Learning to think in new ways about the Shoah as a defining crisis within modernity, Seidler also helps us imagine an ethics for a postmodern time.
"This compelling book shows the impact of the Holocaust on the children of survivors . . . offers a perspective into the minds of those who are closest to the survivors." --Jewish Book World
"A touching personal memoir on the resilience of Jewish culture and its heritage." --English Historical Review
"This work should appeal to different types of reader, both those who favour autobiography with more than a hint of the personal, and those who prefer their history to be concerned with ideas." --Jewish Chronicle