Friday, June 19, 2020

Virtual Author Talk - Esther Safran Foer

5/18/20 - I signed into a virtual author talk sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Holocaust Museum. The guest author, Esther Safran Foer, was born in a displaced persons camp. Only her mother and father had survived the Holocaust from her whole family.  Her memoir, I Want You to Know We're Still Here, is about growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust.

Her goal in writing this was the history and  to remember - whether happy or sad - but to have it on paper. She learned her father, in Ukraine, had a previous wife and daughter who were killed. Her mother in Poland, as Nazis arrived, grabbed her winter coat, socks, scissors (she could sew). And Esther writes that as a survivor, her mother always kept a ton of sugar, flour, and cereal in the pantry. The mother always wanted to be prepared for dire circumstances.

p. 100 - Esther realized she was the "hinge" between generations of the family - the link. She herself did not experience the Holocaust, and growing up a bit in the displaced camp was fine for a child - kids to play with,  food, etc.  Once out of the camp, Esther did see the toll the war took.Her mother was strong and survived. Her father committed suicide when Esther was eight.

Quite a story, and in hearing the author speak, she said she knew she had to become a writer and preserve the stories, put the memories down on paper for herself, for her sons, and for posterity.

I miss live events at the museums,  but the power of virtual viewing is better than nothing. I enjoyed hearing Esther Safran Foer speak. Her strength, humor, and family view of history was compelling.
It was worth an on-line ticket ($25.00) and I consider it a donation  to the arts. Helps keep my brain from becoming mush.


  1. That sounds lovely Joanne. Hopefully virtual won't be a permanent state of affairs.
    During this lockdown time I've joined the London Writer's Salon. Every morning we have The Writer's Hour. Anyone can join, for free. Just look them up, although the timing might not be good for you in Texas. Anyway, just to say that it's been a lifeline to me in this sci fi movie time we're living in. We have authors who are interviewed and lots of encouragement to write. I've been working on mt memoir and can see that I might even finish it.

    1. Thanks much for the invite - I'll check it out. And glad you are working on a memoir. This is the time to do stuff you didn't think you had time for. Take care and stay safe

  2. This wa good to read Joanne.thanks for sharing this with us.
    Have a peaceful , happy and healthy weekend.

  3. I miss so many things this is a nice read.
    Thank you for sharing, have a lovely weekend

  4. Hi Joanne - I'm glad you were able to plug in and listen to her memoir talk ... I've always avoided that side of life ... films, books etc - I'm getting 'braver' or being prepared to be open and understand a bit more ... I'm not sure I'd cope ... or perhaps it was easier to 'not realise'. I do know though ... just didn't want to know more than I had to.

    Take care - and all the best this weekend - Hilary

  5. The one silver lining for me is how many talks and festivals have moved online. I 'attended' the Hay Festival for the first, and probably only, time - I saw 11 events with a variety of writers and scientists.

    At the very start of the lockdown, when I was bed-bound, there was a writing festival with lots of industry people. Wow, that feels such a long time ago now :-(

  6. Sounds like it was a compelling and powerful presentation.