“Why do Grandma and Grandpa act like that? They just don’t get my generation!” These are frequent thoughts from today’s youth and they’re correct, the post-Holocaust generation does find it hard to understand today’s generation and with good reason.
International best-selling author and politician, Peter Sichrovsky, shares the deep emotions and feelings of post-Holocause survivors in his newest book, Verklempt. The title literally means “chocked with emotion” and can provide a segue between generations and a way to share sensibilities.
Sichrovsky previous books have been based on interviews with German and Austrian children of Holocaust survivors and children of high-ranking Nazi families and Verklempt follows the same format of interview-based monologs. Darkly humorous and deeply touching, at the heart of Verklempt, his love for family, history and his Jewish heritage shine.
Darkly humorous, disturbing, and yet deeply touching, some of the stories include:
- Prague – An adolescent Jewish boy struggles when his Communist parents renounce their affiliations upon Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, just as he’s about to land a date at the local Communist club.
- Sirens – A young couple in Israel – he’s a native Brooklynite, she’s an Israeli-born doctor – struggle to keep their marriage and family together under Saddam Hussein’s latest rocket attack.
- The Love Schnorrer – A hapless, depressed man leaves his wife and children to secretly emigrate with a Jewish partner he’s just met.
- Coffin Birth – The wealthy businessman and Holocaust survivor Herr Bernstein is only able to reconcile his seventieth birthday by insisting that he will have an heir – by any means necessary.
- Onju – A man seeks guidance from a Rabbi when his grandchild’s life is tainted by his sins of the past. (accepted for publication at JewishFiction.net)
About the author: Peter Sichrovsky is an Austrian journalist, author, and former politician. In 1989, he co-founded Austria’s liberal newspaper Der Standard, and was a member of the European Parliament from 1996 to 2004. He is the author of several internationally best-selling books based on interviews, which include Strangers in Their Own Land: Young Jews in Germany and Austria Today (Basic Books, 1986), about German and Austrian children of Holocaust survivors, and Born Guilty: Children of Nazi Families (Basic Books, 1988), which was adapted into theatrical works in over fifteen languages. Other acclaimed works include Abraham’s Children: Israel’s Young Generation (Pantheon, 1991) and a book of interviews with 21st-century German neo-Nazis entitled Incurably German (Swan Books, 2001). Sichrovsky was a foreign correspondent between 1986 and 1996 for publications including Stern Magazine, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and Profil. He currently lives in Chicago.