by Sarah Moskovitz ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 1, 1982
Relatively few children survived the Holocaust--but some of those who did were brought to England in 1945 and cared for by Alice Goldberger, a refugee protegÃ‰e of Anna Freud, at homey Lingfield House: their ages ranged from three to eleven; they came from concentration camps (Theresienstadt, Auschwitz), from attic hiding-places; some had surviving parents, some did not. And in the sketchy but touching prologue here, California therapist Moskovitz flashes back to the arrivals, the Lingfield milieu, the ""surprising cheerfulness"" of most of the children, the occasional traumas, the little boy who persistently asked everyone, ""Bist du mein?"" (Are you mine?) Then follow 24 interviews with grownup Lingfield alumni--most of them married, most with adoptive parents, most living in England or America (a few in Israel, Italy, Australia): the interviewees call up WW II memories, Lingfield memories; they comment on their attitudes toward their past (most play it down), their Jewishness; the conversations are oddly bland--except for the London taxi driver who breaks clown in sobs and the born-again Christian in Sacramento who still sleeps with a large stuffed animal. And finally, though the interviews seem too superficial for the drawing of conclusions, Moskovitz does note some patterns and make a few theoretical stabs: problems with survival guilt, loss, anxiety, and lack-of-identity are acknowledged; ""coping strategies"" (including the widespread ownership of German Shepherds) are surveyed; yet Moskovitz stresses the positive, compassionate, apparently healthy quality of most of these lives--which leads her to say, far too sweepingly, that ""contrary to previously accepted notions, we learn powerfully from these lives that lifelong emotional disability does not automatically follow early trauma. . . ."" Inadequate as a serious study, then--but moving and curious in many of the particulars.
Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1982
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1982
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