Frozen Mud and Red Ribbons

A Romanian Jewish Girl's Survival through the Holocaust in Transnistria and its Rippling Effect on the Second Generation

Avital E. M. Baruch

ibidem Press

Frozen Mud and Red Ribbons

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Pub Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9783838210483

212 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $22.00£19.00

Pub Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9783838269986

212 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $14.99£13.00

Frozen Mud and Red Ribbons

A Romanian Jewish Girl's Survival through the Holocaust in Transnistria and its Rippling Effect on the Second Generation

Avital E. M. Baruch

ibidem Press

When Sophica was six years old, she was deported together with her mother and the whole of the Jewish community of Mihaileni, Romania to a strip of land in Eastern Ukraine called Transnistria. Death, illness, brutality, and shame became her daily life. Hungry and afraid, she held on to her sanity and hope, albeit losing her sister and her father and witnessing a vicious attack on her mother. She met Herman on her way to the Promised Land.

Herman didn't mind wearing the yellow star and staying home from school. He played outside with his friends while his father and brother were sent to a labor camp. After the war ended, he joined a Jewish youth movement and embarked on a ship to Israel. However, his journey was interrupted and he was taken to a British detention camp in Cyprus where he met Sophica. They were renamed Shulamit and Tzvi and made a home together in Israel. Shulamit/Sophica never mentioned her sad childhood. Sixty-five years after the war and her deportation, Sophica's daughter comes across a family secret and starts asking questions, inducing Shulamit to break her silence and become the frightened little Sophica once more. This book tells her moving story.

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.

Yiannis Gabriel, professor at the University of Bath, author of Myths, Stories and Organization

Baruch recounts in fine details a family story which leads from the shtetl Mihaileni in north-eastern Romania in the 1930s to the horrors of the labor camps of Transnistria and from there to a new life in Israel. Based on oral history, this book offers very personal insights into the Holocaust perpetrated by Romania. It is sad and moving, but also carries a message of hope.

Simon Geissbühler, historian, political scientist, and diplomat

Frozen Mud and Red Ribbons offers a true work of love in honor of her parents and all survivors, a work that deserves to be read, considered, and reread. Her masterful narrative moves across Romania to Cyprus and Israel, capturing the voice of generations that experienced the Holocaust and those who grew up in its shadow.

Maura Hametz, professor of history at Old Dominion University, co-editor of Jewish Intellectual Women in Central Europe, 1860-2000

About the Author

Avital E. M. Baruch, Shulamit and Tzvi's daughter, was born in 1957 in Haifa, Israel. She embarked on this project as a literary memorial to her aunt, her grandfather, and her great-grandmother, who were denied a proper burial. She dedicated six years to the sensitive task of interviewing her mother and other members of the family and to researching the historical background of the Holocaust in Romania, especially the deportations to Transnistria. Avital now lives in London with her husband. They have four grown-up children and five grandchildren.