Title: A World After This: A Memoir
Of Loss And Redemption
Author: Lola Lieber (with Alida Brill)
Publisher: Devora Publishing
It is not often we find a Holocaust memoir where the author contributed to the saving of the saintly Bobover Rebbe, Shlomo Halberstam, met the infamous and controversial Kasztner and faced the devil Eichmann. Furthermore, she encountered gentiles that helped or contributed to her and her husband’s survival; from the Polish mayor of Niepolomice, the Nazi commander of the Bochnia ghetto, Polish expatriates in Budapest, a Hungarian janitor in Debrecen to a Hungarian doctor in Budapest.
The book reads like a suspense novel, the passages are almost visual, and at times it will take your breath away. It captures Lola Lieber’s artistic eye and emotions in conveying experiences of horror, fright, hunger, suspense, relief and extreme happiness. It is not just a memoir standing there by itself; it is a picture in the woven tapestry of Jewish history.
The book takes you on a spellbinding journey into the culture of Eastern European Jewry immediately before and during WWII and shows you what life was like for a couple of newlyweds, on the run just beyond the grasp of the Nazi death factories to which so many of their contemporaries were relegated.
A World After This is educational. It explains the Nazis did not invent ghettos, the yellow stars were not the first invention to display one’s religion, and the killing machine was just a modern version of older and less advanced killing machines used against the Jews.
To enforce the documentary and educational part, the book has maps, a glossary, and pictures of family members who died during as well as those who survived the Holocaust.
But in the end this book is an ode to victory and survival of the Jewish people. Lola survived and is rebuilding the Jewish tapestry. Ultimately, it is a story about the survival of a woman who defied death to become a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and an accomplished artist and did her part in re-weaving and repairing the tapestry of Jewish history tore by the Nazis. A must read.