Is It Night Or Day?

'I'm American, but I'm different.'

German flag American flag When my son was six years old, he pointed out a black, red and yellow flag on a plastic place mat that featured the flags from around the world. "Look, Oma," he said. "Your flag!" "That's not my flag," she told him. "But you're German." "I was German. Now I'm American." "But you're still German, Oma." She didn't see the irony; he had called her by ...

My mother, the enemy alien

One Sunday over brunch several months ago, the family was having a political discussion about racial profiling. In her inimitable way, my mother turned to me and said, “You know, I was an enemy alien.” “What? When?” In recent years, my mother, who is now in her eighties, has begun to talk about her past, but I was completely shocked by this new revelation. “When I was 14-years old.” I ...

Thanks a million, HIAS!

The last picture taken of my mother with her parents before she was sent to America in 1938. When my mother came to this country at the age of 12 all by herself, she had no idea what program organized her journey. She was part of an American rescue operation recently named "the One Thousand Children," which sought to place child refugees in foster families to escape Nazi persecution. The ...

The Forgotten Children

World news spotlighted another heartbreaking story of child immigration this week. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized to thousands of British who were shipped to Australia as children. They were promised a better life; instead, they had a Dickensian existence. More than 500,000 children were placed in foster homes, orphanages and other institutions during the 20th century, according to a 2004 Australian Senate report. Many experienced emotional, physical and sexual ...

The Art of Titling a Book

I’m often asked why I titled my upcoming book, Is It Night or Day? Warning: what follows is a bit of a spoiler. An explanation of the title appears on page 205 of the book. For those who don’t want to wait, read on. The cover of my new book, "Is It Night or Day?" My new book is about child immigration. Throughout history, many families have made the painful ...

Telling my mother's story

In my new book, Is It Night or Day?, I wrote my mother’s story from her perspective. I have only fictionalized this work for the purpose of point of view. My mother, like many survivors, cannot tell her own story so I am attempting to tell it for her. I think that this is one of the responsibilities of the second generation.
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