Tagarchief: autobiography

The Dead Years

Dead_years_holocaust_memoirs_joseph_schupack_amsterdampublishersThe Dead Years – Holocaust Memoirs by Joseph Schupack

Holocaust survivor stories need to be kept alive.  Every year, survivors with unique testimonies are passing away. This means that we will soon no longer be able to hear first-hand from the people who survived the Holocaust. Books and video testimonials by survivors will be the only ways to get to know their moving stories.

The sons of Joseph Schupack (1922 – 1989) have decided to republish their father’s testimonial, The Dead Years in order to keep his memory alive by giving it better exposure.

Amsterdam Publishers is very pleased to have released the revised and augmented edition. The Dead Years is our fourth Holocaust memoir, and we are committed to continue to bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT YAD VASHEM

Joseph Schupack’s two sons are grateful to Liesbeth Heenk and Amsterdam Publishers for the opportunity to make their father’s work available to a wider audience and wish to further the project of remembrance of the Holocaust by donating the proceeds of The Dead Years to benefit Yad Vashem‘s causes, to take effect from 1 July 2017.

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The Dead Years is different from most Holocaust Survivor stories. Not only is it a testimony of the years wasted before the second world war in Poland and subsequently in the concentrationcamps of Majdanek, Auschwitz, Dora / Nordhausen and Bergen-Belsen in Germany and Poland, but it also serves as a witness statement. Although it has been written years after the events took place, the author has tried to mention as many names, places and dates as humanly possible. It contains a wealth of information for researchers and people interested in the era, or coming from Radzyn-Podlaski and surroundings.

The Dead Years is a deeply personal book. Schupack saw how people in the depths of misery shared their last morsel of food, how they were prepared for any sacrifice. There were many examples of brotherly love that grew out of empathetic pain.

Schupack describes the rampant anti-Semitism he encountered when he tried to reclaim his possessions in Poland after the end of the war. For the Poles in his home town, the best Jews were the ones who did not return. A new, strictly anti-Semitic organization had been founded and its primary goal was the liquidation of all Jews returning from hiding or concentration camps.

After the war the author confronted his demons, mentally scarred by his experiences, and suffering from a chronic anxiety about the future and a permanent feeling of insecurity. It is a miracle how he has come to terms with his memories. We are deeply grateful that he confided his memoirs to the paper, so we never forget.

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The Dead Years also available in German as Tote Jahre

Dr Volker Katzmann has kindly gave us permission to republish the original version of The Dead years (Tote Jahre). As from 24 September 2017 it is available as eBook on Amazon. In due course it will be released as paperback as well.

Tote Jahre von Joseph Schupack, herausgegeben von Amsterdam Publishers

An excerpt from The Dead Years

Like a stranded man among the stranded, like a sufferer bound to all sufferers, I stood alone in front of the shambles of my life which had stopped when I was seventeen years old and from which nothing could be salvaged or repaired.

My own Holocaust had started almost five years before. I was very young then, but in the meantime had aged much more than those five years. The time of youth, when the basis for a human being is created and his personality is formed, the time of cheerful memories, of school, of first love – this period of laughter and pranks from which everyone derives pleasure for a lifetime – this period did not exist for me and my contemporaries. It was taken from us because we were born Jews. We spent this period in a hell among devils in human form. Those years were dead years.

No nightmare, no horror story, no fantasy can be compared to life in that inferno. Those five years seemed like a lifetime to me; I thought that I had been born and always lived there. Sometimes I would strain my memory to remember the time before 1939.

Then, my world was comprised only of Jews and non-Jews. I saw the world divided into the persecuted and the persecutors, the tortured and the torturers: on the one side, the beaten and the dead, on the other, the sadists and murderers. We Jews were always given the role of the persecuted. Even after the liberation I did not dare to think of changing roles, although I had wished it before: just once I wanted to play the other part and then die. The outrageous injustices committed against us hurt us more than all the resulting suffering. I could forgive neither God nor mankind for what I had witnessed and experienced during the extermination of our people. There is a lot of injustice in the world, but for that kind there is no consolation. Like a wounded animal I thought that I had to show my wounds to the world with its morals, political parties, organizations and religions so that not only the crimes of the murderers, but also the injustices committed against us Jews would be recognized.

To wake up from this trauma, conscious of the necessity to see and judge the world and people differently, to overcome the past was my problem and that of all my fellow sufferers.

The Dead Years is a poignant story offering a unique perspective on the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations

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Open-hearted

Open-hearted_patricia_vlasmanOpen-hearted – My life with cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure

The Dutch Patricia Vlasman (b. 1971) has been leading her life with a heart condition since birth: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. She is strongly advised against pregnancy and always takes oral contraception, but suddenly finds herself pregnant. She and her husband take the difficult and risky decision to keep their baby.

Patricia gives birth to a wonderful son whilst having three cardiac arrests. Soon thereafter she suffers serious arrhythmias and can no longer work. She is being pingponged between endless cardiologists and various hospitals.

When Dutch cardiologists finally say that they have little left to offer her, the only option is to ask for a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in the US.

A fundraising concert with well-known artists enables Patricia to find the means to pay for the high fees at the Mayo Clinic. In the US she receives some recommendations for treatment that can buy her more time.

Back in the Netherlands Patricia tries to be a mainstream mother in between checkups and hospital admissions, but her life is not at all normal – every hiccup leads to looming arrhythmias.

Open-hearted – My Life with Cardiomyopathy and heart failure is not only recommended reading for heart patients and their family and friends, but for any body who wants to get inspired by someone with an extraordinary fighting spirit, and a never ending optimism – against all odds.

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About Patricia Vlasman

Patricia Vlasman (b. 1971) read social studies and political sciences at the University of Amsterdam. She had a job at the Dutch Ministry of Justice but her worsening heart condition ended her career.

She now spends her life as a novelist and she coaches people with cardiac diseases. In 2010 her first novel appeared: Loneliness prevailing.

In Open-hearted – My life with cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure, Patricia Vlasman relates her daily struggle as a patient. A moving, raw and brave story. She swiftly draws you into her life and shows all sides of her hampering but loving heart.

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