The son of a Holocaust survivor rehearses the horrors of his mother’s captivity, the improbability of her survival, and the deleterious lingering effects on her—and him.
Goldman (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles), the on-air legal editor for Fox News from 1996 to 2006, has several objectives here: to outline a piece of the history of the Holocaust (grim reminders of inhumanity appear on virtually every page), tell his mother’s remarkable story, ruminate about the perpetrators of the atrocities, and condemn those who profited by it, especially Alfried Krupp, whose family and wartime business found great success because of the Nazi war machine—and because of the labor of Jewish slaves. Although the author focuses primarily on his mother, he occasionally employs a wide-angle lens to show us what was going on throughout war-torn Europe; he even deals some with the stories of Anne Frank, Raoul Wallenberg, and other Holocaust icons. His mother’s story is astonishing; her survival, virtually impossible. As the war was winding down, she was working in the concentration camp at Ravensbrück and would almost certainly have died there if not for one man’s negotiation with Heinrich Himmler, who, seeing the end of the war (and realizing what would happen to him), made a deal to release some Jewish women, Goldman’s mother among them. She then traveled to Sweden, stayed about a year and a half and immigrated to America, where she married (the Nazis had shot her first husband) and gave birth to the author. Her dark memories never left her, and Goldman describes his own difficulties dealing with her as she aged and struggled. The author works hard to maintain a scholar’s tone in his text, but throughout, he also shows us the blood of millions seeping through his pages.
A welcome excavation of an obscure corner of Holocaust history.