Living Among The Dead by Adena Bernstein Astrowsky

Today I pass the blog back to Mandie who has a review of Living Among The Dead by Adena Bernstein Astrowsky. Our thanks to Anne Cater who invited us to take part, here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Review Copy

About the Book

This is the story of one remarkable young woman’s unimaginable journey through the rise of the Nazi regime, the Second World War, and the aftermath. Mania Lichtenstein’s dramatic story of survival is narrated by her granddaughter and her memories are interwoven with beautiful passages of poetry and personal reflection. Holocaust survivor Mania Lichtenstein used writing as a medium to deal with the traumatic effects of the war.

Many Jews did not die in concentration camps, but were murdered in their lifelong communities, slaughtered by mass killing units, and then buried in pits. As a young girl, Mania witnessed the horrors while doing everything within her power to subsist. She lived in Włodzimierz, north of Lvov (Ukraine), was interned for three years in the labor camp nearby, managed to escape and hid in the forests until the end of the war.

Although she was the sole survivor of her family, Mania went on to rebuild a new life in the United States, with a new language and new customs, always carrying with her the losses of her family and her memories.

Seventy-five years after liberation, we are still witnessing acts of cruelty born out of hatred and discrimination. Living among the Dead reminds us of the beautiful communities that existed before WWII, the lives lost and those that lived on, and the importance to never forget these stories so that history does not repeat itself.

Available from: Amazon

Mandie’s Thoughts

Living Among the Dead is the story of how Mania Lichtenstein survived the holocaust when all her family were killed, told by her granddaughter Adena. Like many others who survived Mania did not like to really talk about this part of her past as it brought back the nightmares she had tried to suppress. For Adena, it was a way to understand the woman who had always shown her love and to get to learn about the relatives she had never met.

I am always drawn to books relating to the holocaust as this is a period in history that shows the absolute worst in human nature along with the best, the stories of those who survived and managed to make new lives, never truly forgetting what they had to endure but through strength and determinationfound a way to go on. It is through their stories and memories that we can truly learn how to do better and be better. There is so much we don’t know about what happened in the camps and the ghetto’s but thanks to Mania and many like her this is changing.

You can sense the guilt that Mania had to live with, after one moment in time spared her life when the rest of her family were killed. Despite this she still felt lucky to be alive. As more and more around her met their horrific death, the only way she could come to terms with her survival was by believing that it was “fate” that kept her alive. With the story laced with Mania’s own poetry this book is truly personal andcompelling. Adena also feels guilt about encouraging her grandmother to tell her story but it is a story that needs to be told so that we never forget. With a mixture of both Mania’s and Adena’s memories this is a must read for anyone.

About the Author

Adena Astrowsky has dedicated her career to helping the most vulnerable of our society. She did this by prosecuting child sexual abuse cases and domestic violence cases within the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. She became Maricopa County’s expert concerning the prosecution of domestic violence related strangulation cases, and taught extensively on that subject. Adena taught Sunday School at her temple for eight years, with the last two years co-teaching “Character Development Through the Studies of the Holocaust.” Once a month Adena volunteers at the local Scottsdale library with her therapy dog, Charlie, as part of the Tail Waggin’ Tales Program. Adena has also chaired events to raise money for the Emily Center of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Recently, Adena was recognized for her professional and philanthropic work with an Amazing Woman Award from the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona. Adena’s greatest role, however, is as the mother of three very active children. She, and her husband, Brad, are kept very busy with their respective dance, theater, music, and athletic activities.

Author Links: Twitter

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