Author: Simon Hammelburg
Description: The Jewish deportees to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor who survived often married or remarried soon after Liberation, but many of these unions proved to be disasters. Psychological and physical wounds from the camps could not heal. Home life was marked by great sadness, extreme feelings of guilt, and often stringent rules of behavior.
Broken on the Inside, written by Simon Hammelburg, a well-known Dutch journalist and son of Holocaust survivors, is a novel about Jewish survivors and their children. Based on his own life as well as interviews with 1200 other survivors. These interviews were transcribed during telephone calls he received in a 1992 campaign to help American Jews and other individuals reclaiming property they had lost during the Nazi regime in the former DDR. The calls Simon Hammelburg received were often long monologues about experiences in concentration camps like Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and even Sobibor, depicting the horrible tales of escapes, hiding, revealing unknown facts about WWII. The witness statements provided unique insights into the psychological aftermath of the Holocaust survivors and their children. The author describes in heart-breaking terms how he and other children of survivors escaped their tormented home life by joining Habonim-Dror, the Socialist Zionist youth movement. Though only one of the young people in the novel succeeds in making aliyah, the rest remain loyal to Israel and the memories of their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
In 1996 the book ‘Kaddish for Daisy’ was published only in Dutch language. It was the debut novel of Simon Hammelburg concerning victims of the Holocaust and their children. The book received some critical acclaim but disappeared from bookshops shortly after publication and has not been available until 2014. Over a period of 18 years, Simon Hammelburg has continued to refine the original manuscript. Now the time has come to publish the final version in Dutch and English.
The protagonist loses his wife in a car crash and while in mourning, he revisits places where together, they had found happiness. During this journey he connects with his peers, his brother and parents. Hammelburg not only describes these meetings but focuses on the many conversations held about the persecution in the camps, the need to stay in hiding, the hope for a new life in Israel and the loneliness in a post-war Europe too busy with its reconstruction. The tragedy of the Holocaust becomes tangible for those who have to live on.
‘I know all about it Daisy. And yet I cannot get angry. On the outside they have survived the Holocaust but inside, almost everything is broken and this shows on the outside. Not very pleasant but there’s nothing to be done about it.’
‘The power lies not so much in the inevitable anguish of the testimonials but more in the directness of a conversation between friends about something that cannot be captured in words by strangers.’- Trouw Newspaper
‘A liberation, moving one to tears.’ – NRC Newspaper
Based on 1200 interviews with Holocaust survivors and their children.
All of these personal witness statements and memories are verified.
contains several shocking facts that had never been widely publicized.
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