Mysteries in my family's past prodded me to delve into WWII and Holocaust
history, with valuable assistance >from JewishGen databases and members, too.
Soon, my investigations led me through a side door into the past, where
family history merged with world history.
Part memoir, part detective story, Because of Eva: A Jewish Genealogical
Journey (Syracuse U Press) is an intimate tale of one woman's history
within the epic sweep of world events in the 20th century. What began
as a seemingly simple search for "Eva," the elderly relative who had
signed my estranged grandfather Aaron's death certificate long ago
became a journey of discovery after I found her in Tel Aviv. There,
I heard Eva's stories of survival during the Nazi occupation of Budapest
in 1944, where she fought in the resistance, saved other Jews, knew
Raoul Wallenberg, and subsequently cared for Aaron in his final years.
Eventually, I would fly to Budapest to walk Eva's streets in and out of the
former Jewish ghetto, and confirm her stories. I also visited my ancestral
towns Zbaraz, Skalat, Tarnopol in Ukraine, and Czernowitz in Bukovina to
bear witness to the slaughter of entire populations of Jews. Amid remains
of loss and destruction in Aaron's hometown, Zbaraz, I learned details
of my family's life before relatives came to America.
Susan J. Gordon
White Plains NY 10605