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November 4, 2019 6:35 am

New Book Tells a Holocaust Family Mystery

avatar by Ronn Torossian

The main gate at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Photo: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

I just finished reading an extraordinary new book, House on Endless Waters by author Emuna Elon.

From start to finish, I found it to be well-written, touching, and chock-full of character development; there were so many stories I could relate to.

The book is a family mystery ripe with great plot twists. It explores one man’s quest — a renowned Israeli author — to visit his birthplace in Amsterdam, despite promising his late mother that he would never return to that city. And during a visit to that city’s Jewish museum, he sees a picture of his mother, pre-war, holding a child he doesn’t recognize. The book explores his adventures through Amsterdam — past, present, and future — replete with dreams, visions, and more, all in beautifully written prose.

Throughout the book, I had memories of growing up in a home where my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, and my mom (z”l) spent so much time researching, reading, and studying about the history of our many family members who were murdered by the Nazis. She attended conferences, discovered obscure files, and spent days at Yad Vashem. In the last few months of her life, my mother learned that her father, Morris Waga, had been married with a family before he married my grandmother. He lost that wife and a three-year old daughter in the camps to the Nazis. Yet, throughout his entire life, he never told my mother or her younger brother.

The book discusses underground networks that hid Jewish children during the war, and the burdens faced by those who survived. The scars of the Holocaust haunt families and people for generations.

The author Emuna Elon is a longtime best-selling author. She is also the widow of Rabbi Benny Elon, who was a close friend of mine.

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