The Holocaust and Motherhood

  • May 4, 2010
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Author Fern Schumer Chapman on Her New Book and Writing About Her Mom

TAGS: Holocaust, Fern Schumer Chapman, books, authors, motherhood, book clubs, immigration

Article from by Liz Logan

It’s impossible for us to know who we truly are without knowing something of our mothers. That’s why Fern Schumer Chapman of Lake Bluff has spent years unraveling the enigma that is her mother, who was orphaned by the Holocaust.

Fern3Chapman’s first book, “Motherland: Beyond the Holocaust—A Mother-Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past” became a cult favorite with North Shore book clubs and was a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards in 2000.

The book tells the story of her mother-daughter trip to Germany to visit the town where her mother, Edith, lived until she was 12. In 1938, her parents sent her to the U.S. to live with relatives in Chicago. Four years later, Edith learned that her parents had died in a concentration camp.

After the publication of “Motherland,” Chapman learned more about her mother’s story—particularly that she had come over with a small group of children as part of an American rescue effort now known as The One Thousand Children Project.

Researching the 1,000 children and talking to her mom prompted Chapman to write a book of historical fiction for young adults, “Is It Night or Day?” She assumes her mother’s voice to tell Edith’s story of immigration and survival. The book, which was published this spring, was recognized as one of Booklist’s Top 10 Historical Fiction Books for Youth, 2010, among other nods.

Chapman sat down with to talk about how writing brought her closer to her mom.

To read interview, please click here:

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