יהודי מיהלני דורהוי Frozen Mud and Red Ribbons by Avital E. M. Baruch “A testament, a
pilgrimage, a journey of discovery and redemption, a beautifully crafted tapestry of stories of suffering, bravery, death and survival. Oral history does not come better than this beautifully written book, a daughter's labour of devotion to her Holocaust survivor mother and a gift of love to her children and her readers.”
Professor Yiannis Gabriel, University of Bath, author of “Myths, Stories and Organization”
“Frozen Mud and Red Ribbons” is the moving story of Sophica and Herman, born in the 1930th in Romania. Told by their daughter – the Second Generation – the narrative does not only allow an insight into the hardships and cruelty Sophica had to endure during her childhood, but also pictures the aftermath for Holocaust survivors and their descendants: Survivors’ guilt and Post-Traumatic Stress from events that she did not experience herself led the author to research and unravel a tragic yet beautiful past that had been so adamantly buried by her mother for years.
Sophica’s father was a victim of the Death Trains Pogrom in Iasi. Sophica as a toddler had a turbulent life journey that took her from Iasi to Mihaileni, through Dorohoi, Bucecea, and across the river Dniester to transnistria, Ukraine. On ice, in -30 degrees Celsius, she had to walk from Mogilev to Luchinets and from there to Shargorod – a name spoken even sixty years later still brings tears to Sophica’s eyes. Capusterna was her last stop, before being sent back to Romania, where Sophica spent the most beautiful time of her life in a Children Home in Gura Humorului, Bukovina.
Herman, born in Siret and growing up in Botosani, had a happier fate despite growing up in the same country. Memories of traditional games and recipes of Jewish food are vividly pouring out of him in great passion. He left home after his Bar Mitzva, to his mother’s agony and in spite of his brother’s wrath, and joined his youth movement Bnei Akiva, on the famous ship Pan York in an illegal immigration to Palestine. The British Navy stopped their trip and treated them for a few long months in a detention camp in Famagusta, Cyprus.
The book is full with anecdotes about culture of bygone years, including traditional domestic life, occupations like blacksmithing that are almost extinct, superstitions and folklore.