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Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Silence of Parents by Susan Simpson Geroe

The Silence of Parents is the story of what happens when families keep secrets, in particular those of the holocaust. Ilona, the only child of holocaust survivors, struggles to grow up as part of the second generation, or "Second Gen". She finds her whole life shifted when her father makes a secret decision based on fears her parents hold but won't explain to her. In their love for her and an attempt to protect her from the evil they know exists in the world, their interference drastically changes the path of her life.

Published by Fithian Press, The Silence of Parents covers a side of the holocaust you rarely hear about. What happens to the children of holocaust survivors? How did they grow up in the hideous shadow of the past? What are their lives like as adults? Geroe's story tells it with an intricate plot that will pull you into the lives of Ilona's family and the love of her life, with whom she has been forced to separate.

I asked Susan Simpson Geroe a few questions about her book. Here is what she had to say:

carp(e) libris: You're a Second Gen just like your main character Ilona. How much of this book would you say is autobiographical?

Susan: Indeed, I am a Second Gen just like the main character in the book. Although not an autobiography, the way Ilona reacts to the world around her mirrors mine at various times in my life. The parts of the book that relate to living in post war Romania and the immigration process in the mid 1960s reflect reality. The love story and the characters are fiction, created to provide the backbone to the way I, as a Second Gen, feel about the world around me.

cl: One portion of the book shows interviews with some Second Gens who share their stories. Were these from real interviews?

Susan: The interviews were not conducted with separate individuals, although I've used some information that friends, or cousins shared with me. Again, the interviews provided means to express how I, as an adult today, came to terms with my feelings as a child, a teenager, a wife and mother while reflecting upon and accepting my life as a child of Holocaust survivors.

cl: If someone is a Second Gen, how would you suggest they find a support group?

Susan: In our days, I think the easiest way to find a support group for Second Gens is to search the Internet with key words such as Holocaust Survivors, Second Generation Survivors, or inquire at local synagogues, or Jewish institutions.

Thanks so much to Susan and Fithian Press! For more information, visit Fithian Press's website.

1 comment:

Jane Marie said...

Parents will go to any lengths to protect their children. This sounds like it could extend to other families' secrets as well and reflect on how they might be handled also.