Here, There Are No Sarahs
A Woman's Courageous Fight Against the Nazis and Her Bittersweet Fulfillment of the American Dream
Stripped of her name, 18-year-old "Sonia" Shainwald went to war without basic training, without equipment, without food or any of the essentials necessary to fight the Germans. Urging her family and neighbors to leave a wretched hiding place during the liquidation of their ghetto, she and her parents and uncle spent a brutal winter in the forests and then joined a heroic Soviet partisan brigade. After the liberation, her family spent three years in a Displaced Persons camp near Frankfurt, and eventually reached America. But Sonia's life in her adopted land has been both tragic and triumphant.
“Here, There Are No Sarahs” is co-authored by Holocaust scholar Fred Rosenbaum whose “Taking Risks” (with former partisan Joseph Pell) was praised by the San Francisco Chronical as “so extraordinary that it transcends the genre.” As they were completing their manuscript, Orbuch and Rosenbaum discovered that a trove of touching family correspondence written in the 1930s and 40s lay in a closet in Argentina. The letters, some in Sonia's own hand, were copied, sent to the Bay Area, and translated. Several are published in the book's appendix, along with love poetry penned in the forest in 1943.
About the Author
SONIA SHAINWALD ORBUCH was born and raised in Luboml, Poland. During the liquidation of her shtetl in October 1942, she and her parents and uncle fled to the forest and, after enduring a brutal winter in the open, joined the Fyodorov partisans and resisted Nazi oppression. In 1945, she married the Holocaust survivor Isaak Orbuch and the couple had two children, Bella and Paul, and a granddaughter, Eva. For more than half a century, Sonia has been highly active in numerous Jewish organizations in New York and California. She now lives in Marin County and speaks about her experiences in schools and community centers.
FRED ROSENBAUM is the founding director of Lehrhaus Judaica, the largest school for adult Jewish education in the American West. He has taught modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at several Bay Area universities and has written four books, most recently the award-winning “Taking Risks” , co-authored with the former Soviet partisan Joseph Pell.
- Gatekeeper Press, February 2009
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