Letters from the Lost
302 pages, 6 x 9
b&w photos, map
Paperback
Release Date:01 Feb 2010
ISBN:9781897425534
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Letters from the Lost

A Memoir of Discovery

SERIES:
Athabasca University Press
On March 15, 1939, Helen Waldstein’s father snatched his stamped exit visa from a distracted clerk to escape from Prague with his wife and child. As the Nazis closed in on a war-torn Czechoslovakia, only letters from their extended family could reach Canada through the barriers of conflict. The Waldstein family received these letters as they made their lives on a southern Ontario farm, where they learned to be Canadian and forget their Jewish roots.

Helen Waldstein read these letters as an adult – this changed everything. As her past refused to keep silent, Helen followed the trail of the letters back to Europe, where she discovered living witnesses who could attest to the letters’ contents. She has here interwoven their stories and her own into a compelling narrative of suffering, survivor guilt, and overcoming intergenerational obstacles when exploring a traumatic past.

Awards

  • 2011, Winner - Alberta Readers’ Choice Award
  • 2011, Winner - Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction
Since receiving her Ph.D in French Literature, Helen Waldstein Wilkes spent 30 years teaching at every level in Canada and in the U.S. Her research interests include cross-cultural understanding, language acquisition, and neurolinguistics. Now retired and living in Vancouver, she is actively examining her own cultural inheritance and its impact.

Foreword

Preface

 

Acknowledgements

Map

 

Family Tree

Opening the Box

Leaving Home

Letters to Antwerp

Starting Over

Letters to Canada

Searching In Europe: 1997–1998

My Aunts and Uncles

My Grandparents

War Breaks Out

The Family Copes

The Letters Stop

Imagining

After the War

Finding Home

Searching for Family Again

Searching for Family One Last Time

Epilogue

 

Endnotes

Selected Bibliography

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