It’s Still Happening

Yes, it’s still happening.  Now, I admit that I am a novice when it comes to technology, so I just let my index finger run free the other day, looking for Holocaust-related material.  And, I am sorry to report, that at this very moment, anti-Semitism is alive and well in our great country.  I won’t dignify the purveyors of these untruths by providing names, but there are still individuals who deny the Holocaust ever happened, or if it did, lay the blame on the Allies.  Concurrently, this week, one deranged individual perpetuated vandalism against shops owned by Jews in a nearby community.  Sound familiar?  Well, I am here as living proof to say that, yes, it did happen.  Grandparents?  Never met them.  Aunts, uncles? Mostly gone.  A photo of my father’s family?  Not a one. Multiply the losses by millions and you have some idea of the great devastation caused by ignorance.  And it’s not just against one race of people, as we have seen all too often in places like Africa and Bosnia, even the U.S.  But yet I have hope.  Okay, laugh.  But I see it in the eyes of my college students who, after reading my book, stand bewildered, some even shocked at a history which parallels fiction more than anything else.  I hear it in their voices, full of outrage and indignation, with just the hint of a commitment to a better world.  And most understand, I think, that this is not just my story, but theirs as well.  Some may say that’s the optimist in me speaking.  But I prefer to think it’s the realist.


My Mother’s Shoes is on the Recommended Reading List of The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education.


About shirleywachtel

Shirley Russak Wachtel is the author of The Story of Blima—A Holocaust Survivor (publ.2005), a novel which recounts the early years of her mother, Betty Weisstuch Russak. The novel s listed as a recommended novel by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. Wachtel is the author of several children's books, including a series of interactive mysteries, Charlie Wonder, Chef-Detective (2005), which includes several recipes; Brad Sureshot, Coach-Detective (2007) which details basketball skills; and Howie Rocket, World-Traveler-Detective (2009) which has handy foreign language phrases. In The Mellow Light (2009) is her first book of poetry. She is a professor of English at Middlesex County College in New Jersey. In addition, Wachtel is the co-author of Spotlight on Reading (2011), a textbook for college-level students. A mother of three sons, she resides with her husband, Arthur, in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Initially written as a doctoral dissertation for her Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University, My Mother's Shoes , says Wachtel, is not just the novel of her life, it is the novel of her heart.
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