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Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust
By Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West

Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook

Genre: YA/NF/History/Holocaust/WWII

 

 

A Junior Library Guild selection

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself.

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Praise

“Price has boldly elected to tell the story in Basia’s own first-person, present-tense voice. The result is a dramatic, suspenseful account of survival in extremis, told in collaboration with Basia’s American daughter.” ―Booklist

“Price’s rendering of West’s mother’s early life reads like suspenseful historical fiction, telling a rarely heard side of the Jewish experience during WWII . . . Family, friendships, and romance give poignancy to this unique coming-of-age story, which is further enhanced by maps, a glossary, and an afterword.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A rich exploration of a Holocaust survivor’s sheltered childhood, the atrocity that failed to destroy her, and her later life as an immigrant.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“I was completely engrossed by this drama of survival. Barbara Reichmann’s story is quite extraordinary. It is sad, and terrible, and yet somehow captivating. The whole story of those who survived the Shoah by passing as Christians and working in Nazi Germany is an often forgotten part of the historical record.” ―Kai Bird, Executive Director, Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY Graduate Center, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

“As occurs with The Diary of Anne Frank, this book merges the dire circumstances of the Holocaust with the tenuousness of being a teenager. But Claiming My Place expands the view provided in the diary for one critical reason. Anne Frank’s story is told within an isolated cocoon. In Barbara’s story, however, the Holocaust is in full view as her experiences unfold.” ―David H. Lindquist, Ph.D., IPFW College of Education and Public Policy / Regional Museum Educator, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

“This frightening true story of a young Jewish girl’s flight from the deadly grip of the Nazis celebrates the surprising ingenuity and raw courage found only in the depths of the human spirit. Risking what few others dared, Barbara Reichmann, née Gucia Gomolinska, speaks with wisdom and uncommon self-awareness through her detailed, colorful, and evocative recollections from earliest childhood. In the final portion of this book, her daughter, Helen West, continues Barbara’s journey in an insightful and loving overview of Barbara’s life from the family’s arrival in New Orleans in 1951 until her death in 2007. This is a great read with the suspenseful, inspiring and uplifting appeal of a novel, about a character who will capture the reader’s heart.” ―Allan Holzman, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director and editor (Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Holocaust, Old Man River, The Native Americans)

“Thanks to the detailed memories and the conversational tone, this book provides an engaging and informative reading experience with as much appeal as a fiction title. Recommended for most YA nonfiction collections.” ―Magdalena Teske, West Chicago Public Library District School Library Journal

“This book was truly a celebration of the human spirit. What a gift she has for putting you in the story. Her way with words, plus her weaving of the actual events recounted to her by the unbelievably courageous Basia and her daughter Helen, was nothing short of magical. The included photographs and epilogue served to fully round out this amazing tale. I never wanted this book to end!” ―Rabbi Lynn Brody Slome

About the Author

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

For more information, please visit Planaria’s website at www.planariaprice.com.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, October 15
Spellbound By History

Tuesday, October 16
100 Pages a Day
Clarissa Reads it All

Wednesday, October 17
Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, October 18
A Chick Who Reads
To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, October 19
Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, October 20
CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 22
The Book Mind

Tuesday, October 23
Books and Glamour
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, October 24
Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, October 25
Book Nerd
Bri’s Book Nook

Friday, October 26
Puddletown Reviews

Saturday, October 27
Donna’s Book Blog

Monday, October 29
Dressed to Read
What is That Book About

Tuesday, October 30
The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, October 31
Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 1
So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, November 2
Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed hardcover copy of Claiming My Place by Planaria Price! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Claiming My Place

An Epiphany in Lilacs
by Iris Dorbian

Publication Date: January 1, 2017
Mazo Publishers
eBook & Papberback; 180 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/World War II

 

 

An Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II. The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father’s personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease. Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.

“Rich with powerful and piercing historical references, An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian captures thereality of Jews who survived the Holocaust, the inner scars and the struggles with uncertainty, incessant nightmares, and fitting into the day-to-day lifestyle of ordinary people. It is a heart-wrenching story,told in excellent prose and in the author’s unique style. I have been a huge fan of Holocaust literature, starting with Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and have always felt appalled by man’s cruelty to fellow man. In this new book, the author explores the terrible effects of a fragment of history on the life of a little boy. This is a story to read and share, a powerful story about freedom and the perils of war.Well-crafted with compelling characters and interesting themes.” – Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

“This was a lovely and inspiring read about survival after the war. The fact that this is based on the author’s personal accounts made this absolutely mesmerizing. This was such a tragic and heartbreaking time in our history, so to be able to read a story like this was like none other. Iris really captures this time period quite well through her father. The connection Daniel finds with the older German (another survivor of the war) and his story about rebuilding his life in the country while searching for his family makes it impossible to put book down.” -Rainy Day Reviews/Bookjunkie Mom Blog

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Paperback) | IndieBound (Paperback)

About the Author

Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater,” which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal, ThisSpace.org, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

For more information, please visit Iris Dorbian’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 17
Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, July 18
Book Nerd
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, July 19
Faery Tales Are Real

Thursday, July 20
T’s Stuff

Friday, July 21
Books of a Shy Girl
A Literary Vacation

Saturday, July 22
Laura’s Interests

Sunday, July 23
Must Read Faster

Monday, July 24
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 25
WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, July 26
100 Pages a Day

Thursday, July 27
Carole’s Ramblings
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Friday, July 28
Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we are giving away a signed copy of An Epiphany in Lilacs to one lucky winner! To enter please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

An Epiphany in Lilacs