• Book Review: Dirty Jewess’: A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom

    Dirty Jewess: A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom by Sylvia Fishbaum

    In expectation of Sylvia Fishbaum’s appearance at the HMTC  in the Spring of 2019, here is a glimpse of what its author endured during her journey to religious and political freedom as described in her memoir: Dirty Jewess’: A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom.

    While the Russians used all their strength and resolve to conquer the Third Reich’s forces, one by one the countries they reclaimed, the concentration camps and the local populace they freed, and the Resistance who joined them, paid a terrible price. They were not returned to their former freedom, but had become subjects of the USSR.  From now on, it would be the USSR that dictated to them who they were and what they were  allowed to do.  Despite being freed from the Germans, the recaptured countries were places from which one strove to escape, and Sylvia Fishbaum, eventually did.

    Picture this:

    It is Czechoslovakia.  The war is long over.  It is now 1961, but the same fury that fed Russia the strength to fight the Nazis, has now been marshaled against the citizens it freed.  They are living in a cage of rules and regulations, and the author of this book can no longer stand it.  She has about her: parents who had been freed from Hitler’s camps by Stalin’s soldiers; two lovely sisters born since who have accommodated to the strictures of the regime, each in their own way; a few close friends, none of whom are Jewish  but who are however, loyal to her, as she courageously strives to make her way out of the steel grip of Communism and the local antisemitism.  After a stay in Italy, and with the help of HIAS, she finally reaches New York City, a new love and a new life.

    There is also a side story of her art teacher, the compassionate dwarf, Ludovit Feld whose talent and humanity the HMTC has already acclaimed in a previous exhibit, and who is particularly precious to the author who plans to honor him in the near future.  I expect we will all want to make this book our own and look forward to meeting its warm hearted, brave, lovely author, who is to make a personal presentation at HMTC in the Spring of 2019.  I know that I do.

    Review by Marcia Posner, the Louis Posner Memorial Library/HMTC of Nassau County

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