Nirelle: Memories of Escape and Survival by Elizabeth Silverstein
This is the story of my mother, a Jewish Yugoslav holocaust survivor who, in 1954, started a new life in the US, having recently married my American father in England, where they met while both were studying abroad. My mother is 85 now and has been living in the US for the last 66 of those years. However, it always seemed to us, her three children, that the events of her early years – growing up as a Jewish refugee in Europe and, later, in Palestine/Israel – held so much interest compared with our more mundane and peaceful upbringing in the US – that her story should be shared more widely. From a young age we wondered about our past – our childhood was filled with exotic accents, our mother’s undefinable (Croatian/Hebrew?), our grandmothers’ Hungarian (mother’s side) and German (father’s side) – and other relatives’ Portuguese (Brazil) and English (UK). These languages – and Italian too – provide the backdrop and locations of this story of survival through childhood years affected deeply by the war in Europe and the formation of the State of Israel.
Year first published: 2021