In 1979, Helen Epstein published Children of the Holocaust, one of the first books to examine the intergenerational transmission of trauma from Holocaust survivors to their children. In the four decades since its publication, Epstein has published 11 additional books (including Franci’s War, a memoir of her mother’s life, in 2020) and has served as a leading voice among descendants of survivors. She is also active in Holocaust memorialization work in the Czech Republic, where her family is from.
As Holocaust survivors get older and their descendants assume the mantle of Holocaust memory, the issues raised by Epstein’s work are taking on new and important meanings.
In this program, Epstein and Ellen Bachner Greenberg, founder of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors (2G Greater New York), discuss Epstein’s life and legacy and the questions she faces today.
This program is sponsored in part through the Battery Park City Authority community partnership.
Watch the program below.
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: Welcome to this evenings program i'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage eliminated memorial to the Holocaust and it's a pleasure pleasure to welcome you to today's program with Helen Epstein and Alan buckner greenberg.
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Ari Goldstein: As many of you know Helen is a leading voice among those engaged in Holocaust remembrance and her book children of the Holocaust published in 1979.
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Ari Goldstein: was one of the first major books to examine the intergenerational transmission of trauma Holocaust survivors to their children.
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Ari Goldstein: Today Helen is joining us to discuss her experiences hopes and perspectives on the second generation.
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Ari Goldstein: Last year we hosted Helen for a terrific book program about Francis war, the recently published memoir of her mother's life, you can order both children of the Holocaust inferences war at the links in the zoom chat.
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Ari Goldstein: This evening's program is co presented with descendants of Holocaust survivors.
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Ari Goldstein: Which is a New York based group for children of survivors to connect with each other to share thoughts feelings and memories and to learn and teach about the legacy of the Holocaust.
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Ari Goldstein: The co founder of descendants of Holocaust survivors is Ellen bachner greenberg was in conversation with Helen this evening.
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Ari Goldstein: Helena ellen's discussion is sponsored in part to the battery park city authority Community partnership.
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Ari Goldstein: All of us at the museum are very grateful to the battery park city authority for their generous support and collaboration over so many years for making this evening possible, as well as some upcoming programs, which will mention, as we close this evening.
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Ari Goldstein: please feel free to share questions in the zoom Q amp a box throughout Helen and ellen's conversation and we'll get to as many as they can towards the end of the hour, without further ado, please join me in welcoming Helen Epstein and one buckner greenberg.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Thank you IRA and thank you are in the museum for partnering with us on this evening's program and i'm here, obviously with Helen Epstein and coincidentally Helen, who was the first to write about.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Children of survivors, was the first one to be at the museum for their first online programming once co that happened last March and it's been a challenging year for everyone, and certainly for you Helen so um I hope you're doing well and let's hear about.
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How you out.
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Helen Epstein: Right Ellen many of you might be surprised at my short hair, the reason I have short hair is because shortly after coven began, I was diagnosed with cancer.
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Helen Epstein: And I had cancer during cope it I had chemo during coven, and the reason I bring it up is not only because Ellen asked me about it, but also because.
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Helen Epstein: My parents experiences survivors was so sustaining to my time in surgery and chemo and radiation, because I had just finished working on editing my mother's book Francis war which takes place between 1939 and 1945.
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Helen Epstein: In a series of camps in Europe and, as I worked on her book of course I internalized it in a very different way than through all the stories I used to hear.
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Helen Epstein: And I found that knowing that my mother had gotten through all the stuff she had gone through, I could certainly get through surgery and chemo and radiation.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Right, and you know it's interesting because they say that your book was the first on intergenerational transmission of trauma, but yet you speaking here of resilience and strength so.
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Helen Epstein: that's right, I mean, I think that one of the mistakes people make when they when they talk about children over the Holocaust without having read it.
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Helen Epstein: Is they think it's all about trauma, but in fact it's about something much more general it's about the transmission of history and culture and experience from one generation to another and that experience was.
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Helen Epstein: very varied, because of course it involves trauma and it involves great strengths and great cleverness.
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Helen Epstein: And on the, on the other hand, also on on a broader spectrum, it involves so many different kinds of people and so many different kinds of experiences.
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Helen Epstein: We in the United States tend to forget that there are children of survivors and survivors on every continent.
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Helen Epstein: On the glow there are children of survivors in South Africa and in the Czech Republic and in Israel and in South America and all of them have different experiences, depending on the culture in which they were raised right Christine.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: So let's go back to the beginning, so how did you begin your career as a journalist and how did you come to write this book.
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Helen Epstein: So I began my career as a journalist, I was a music major at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and every summer we go home to the United States, and we take.
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Helen Epstein: A charter flight from Luxembourg Icelandic airlines to the United States and the summer of 1968 I finished my exams in Jerusalem and I decided to hitchhike through Europe.
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Helen Epstein: With some friends of mine and I got to Prague on August 16 1968 and the Soviet army arrived on August 21 1968 so I was 20 years old.
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Helen Epstein: I was staying at survivor friends of my father's so you can imagine what went on in that household and the international telephone lines were cut.
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Helen Epstein: And they ordered me to stay in the apartment and not go out there were tanks just outside there were airplanes there was shooting in the park behind the House.
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Helen Epstein: And so I sat inside and I listened to the radio and there was a typewriter there and I decided to write a piece about what I was hearing.
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Helen Epstein: And when I was evacuated to Paris two days later.
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Helen Epstein: I took what I had written that had been carbon paper in the House, I don't know how many of you remember carbon paper, but that was to duplicate what you wrote.
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Helen Epstein: And so I had two versions of what I wrote and I sent one to the editor of the New York Times.
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Helen Epstein: And the other one to the editor of the Jerusalem Post, I had no addresses, of course, so I just wrote editor New York Times New York City and editor Jerusalem Post Jerusalem.
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Helen Epstein: And the Jerusalem Post published the article, and when I finally got to Luxembourg from my charter flight I was standing on the tarmac and I heard two people.
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Helen Epstein: In front of me online discussing the article they had read about this girl caught in the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in an apartment.
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Helen Epstein: And that's how I became a journalist and, fortunately, for me, when I came back to school to Hebrew university.
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Helen Epstein: I went to the post and asked are you going to pay me for this article, and they said, not only are we going to pay you we're going to hire you as our university reporter so that's how I became a journalist great.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And so, how did that all come upon that you ended up writing the first book, I know that so many of us who read it back in 1979 and and it's been in print ever since for over 40 years and I believe now it's the third edition that just came on isn't right the third one.
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Helen Epstein: You think so maybe fourth I don't reckon.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And, and here, many of us remember here's the the interior original one, which obviously has been read in love and back then people said that you put into words what they didn't even know how to express, so it really resonated with us, did you.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: start off by knowing that's what you were going to write.
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Helen Epstein: Certainly not.
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Helen Epstein: I had no idea what I was going to write in fact I was hoping to become a music critic or something like that, but um what happened in Jerusalem was after the Six Day War.
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Helen Epstein: People our age, a second generation people came from all over the world to volunteer thinking that the war was going to go on for much longer.
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Helen Epstein: Right Oh, but thousands of us were were were caught in Israel that summer of 1967 and many of us several thousand decided to go to universities in Israel at that point.
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Helen Epstein: And so, when I was living in Jerusalem I gravitated not toward the American group because there was an American friends there was an American program in Israel junior year abroad.
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Helen Epstein: But those really weren't my friends, I gravitated to people from all over the world, and I started noticing that they had something in common, which was very weird.
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Helen Epstein: I noticed that all of them spoke two or three languages, so I had a friend from Brazil, who spoke Hungarian and I spend, I had a friend from Belgium who spoke Polish and yet ish and.
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Helen Epstein: I also noticed that all these people didn't have families, they didn't have grandparents they didn't have extended families.
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Helen Epstein: And they all talked about the effect of the war on their lives and be having started.
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Helen Epstein: Doing journalism after the Soviet invasion and I noticed this and I thought well all of us have kind of the same situation it's really strange and we all, why do I feel this affinity toward this group, rather than to my American.
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Helen Epstein: classmates and I started writing about it and, at the time it didn't occur to me that I was going to be a journalist, I thought, maybe i'd become a novelist so I started a novel called we who came after the war.
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Helen Epstein: And, of course, that went nowhere, because I wasn't studying writing and I hadn't written enough really to be fluent in the form but at any rate, that was how I started.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Now it's interesting that you, you were born in in Czechoslovakia both your parents were and you grew up on the upper West side of Manhattan and were you amongst other children's virus, because it because you connected in Israel to people of different backgrounds.
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Helen Epstein: Right, that is a very interesting question because, in fact, I was growing up among children of survivors, but I didn't know it.
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Helen Epstein: I was growing up on the upper West side, I went to a great high school from from grade seven to 12 called hundred college high school.
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Helen Epstein: gifted girls and many of my classmates I would say, maybe 25% my classmates who kids have either survivors or refugees and nobody ever talked about it.
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Helen Epstein: I don't know how that happened, but we didn't, whereas in Jerusalem.
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Helen Epstein: At at at university, because we were clearly coming from different countries, we would ask about each other's backgrounds and that came up immediately.
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Helen Epstein: So it's really funny because of course i've kept up with my high school classmates we have a listserv and everybody is just astonished to find out who was a child of survivors and we didn't know didn't know.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Was it talked about amongst their families, I know that it was your family right tell us about was like.
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Helen Epstein: Yes, I was more aware of the fact, I was very much aware of the fact that my parents.
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Helen Epstein: socialized almost entirely with other side survivors and other refugees.
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Helen Epstein: So and and they had they didn't have dinner parties, because nobody had enough money for a whole meal, but they had dessert parties on Friday and Saturday nights and people would come over to the House.
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Helen Epstein: And they would sit in our living room and for three or four hours they would discuss the war.
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Helen Epstein: And some of the what was unusual about my family was that there were many non Jewish checks, who would come over.
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Helen Epstein: And some of these non Jewish checks had also been in concentration camps so everybody was talking about the camps everybody was talking about the political situation that led to the war.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: All these there's all unfiltered.
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Helen Epstein: This was all unfiltered nobody paid any attention to me and my brother and later my younger brother, I have two brothers and they all spoke in check and in German.
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Helen Epstein: And so I found it very difficult to know what was what you know for a while I I just blended the two languages.
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Helen Epstein: And I heard all kinds of things, I mean just all kinds of things I heard about this, there was a woman who was close friends with my parents.
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Helen Epstein: Who was a Su date and land German non Jew, who was expelled from Czechoslovakia after the war, because she was a sedate and lens citizen.
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Helen Epstein: And so um I heard about the expulsion after the war, I heard about people who had been in prison during the war.
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Helen Epstein: There were at the time I was growing up three check restaurants in Manhattan.
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Helen Epstein: And one of them Russia does what had been the man had been a restaurant her in Prague and he was known to be sympathetic to the resistance and to Jews and he had helped many people escape, so I knew that too, so there was very little I didn't know what by the time I was about 10 well.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: That that's a lot for 10 year old and and 10 year olds and children are very impressionable was this scary to did you discuss this with your parents.
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Helen Epstein: That wasn't what was discussed it at those desert parties was not scary to me because nobody seemed scared they all.
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Helen Epstein: They were arguing about what could have been different, do you know they would talk about Yalta and they would talk about um they would talk about Munich about the Munich packed and.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: So it was more political than it was the gory details of what went on, and astronauts.
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Helen Epstein: Right, but what it did was it normalized my parents, because it made it made it seem as though they belong to a group group of people who had gone through this together and they weren't all Jews, which was also a normalizing thing.
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Helen Epstein: You know I grew up thinking for a while that everybody had been in concentration camp.
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Helen Epstein: And that, of course, wasn't the case, but the other thing was the scary thing was what scared me was my mother's Auschwitz tattoos scared me.
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Helen Epstein: yeah because my mother always answered questions she was she did not filter her responses and so, by the time I was three, or so I knew that she had been in a prison.
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Helen Epstein: She had been put into prison by what she called bad people and that all my grandparents had been murdered.
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Helen Epstein: And when I asked why she said, because they were Jews, so that was scary and the other thing that was scary I don't know where.
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Helen Epstein: Or why this became the major sort of icon for me, but.
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Helen Epstein: Trains and transports were the major thing for me, every time I got on the subway, of course, you know here I am living in Manhattan so you're on the subway all the time.
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Helen Epstein: But I used to fantasize that those were transports going to camps, I cannot remember where I got this idea, but I can tell you that my parents were extremely i'm not thinking very clearly about what they exposed me to.
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Helen Epstein: So I saw the pawnbroker when I was quite young I saw the diary of Anne Frank Oddly enough in stowe Vermont on a ski vacation and I remember it being a very small cinema.
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Helen Epstein: And I remember, at the end of the movie when the Nazis were climbing up the stairs to the attic I got so such a bad stomach ache that I had to rush out and go to the bathroom so I don't think my parents were very careful about what they exposed me to.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: You know, back then, there weren't parent discussion groups there were in you know sections and libraries on self help this was this was brand new and you know I guess.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: They had intended parents, at some point either they you know they did the best they can, but certainly the impact and the fear I recalling in your book you write about being you started off writing about being on the subway.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And, as if you were going from from one camp, to the next.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: In the decade since your first book you've written two other memoirs.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: where she came from a daughter search for her mother's history that's a chronicle of your mother's a family for three generations and the long half lives of loving trauma, which is decades of your own personal self discovery and healing.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Can you tell us about the journey and the difference in the books, some of them are from different lenses in different viewpoints right.
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Helen Epstein: it's interesting that you ask this question today because of this morning I just got an email from a scholar in Italy and i'm thinking about my work which is kind of astonishing to me.
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Helen Epstein: This has never happened to me before so i'm she sees it as moving from a journalistic memoir which is children of the Holocaust right to.
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Helen Epstein: researching his son and social history and family history, which is certainly where she came from, I was really interested, because the Holocaust had.
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Helen Epstein: caused such an abyss in most of our families between before the war and after the war.
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Helen Epstein: My idea back then, was to build a kind of bridge over that abyss and to connect back to what Jewish life had been like, for my family from about 1800 to 1948.
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Helen Epstein: And so um I spent a long time researching that book and i'd be glad to answer questions that, because it really deepened my relationship with the Czech Republic and i'm i'm very involved with the Czech Republic today.
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Helen Epstein: In fact I just participated last week in the reading of names of the murder checks from the past, through terrorism, and that was organized by the terrorism initiative.
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Helen Epstein: So the third book in this Holocaust trilogy is the long half lives of loving trauma and that book was really occasioned by my wanting to write about love and sex and how those areas had been affected by the Holocaust and how they had affected survivors and how their parenting.
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Helen Epstein: was affected by that experience, and I remember talking with a friend of mine who's a British second generation person and car few may know her book The war after.
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Helen Epstein: And I remember saying to her and i'm going to write about love and sex and survivors and she said, oh I can't believe you're going to do.
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Helen Epstein: That never dare and I said well you watch, so I did and um I had always perceived my mother as being someone who had been deeply affected by the war.
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Helen Epstein: In terms of her development in terms of her maturation as a woman, I didn't perceive my father that way, my father was 16 years older than my mother, he was born in 1904 he was.
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Helen Epstein: Really, a grown man when he went into the camps and he was he was one of the older survivors when it came out of the camps.
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Helen Epstein: And my mother always said that the war had shaped her much more than it has shaped my father that my father went into the war and came out of the war pretty much the same person, whereas she did she said she did not.
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Helen Epstein: She had been radically changed by the war, then I think one of the areas in which she was changed was in her attitude towards love and sex.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Right, which is also now last year, your your let's let's talk about your mother's book Francis war which is her memoir.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: That you you put together and there's also a lot of discussion about that it's so survivors testimonial with you know a lot of talking about the love and the sex how that related and happened in the Holocaust so i'd love to hear that.
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Helen Epstein: that's an interesting story because because of where she came from, I received an email out of the blue, from the second generation guy in Berlin.
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Helen Epstein: And you know when you're a writer, one of the great fun things of that being a writer is you open your email every day, you have no idea what's going on.
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Helen Epstein: So one day I opened my email and there's this guy from Berlin writing me kind of in a berating tone saying a friend of mine has just read, where she came from in check.
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Helen Epstein: And you claim that your mother was in jail, with the woman that my father was married to before he was married to my mother.
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Helen Epstein: And you know, that was a little bit hard to figure out but I figured that out, and he said i've written a book about this woman her name is Marianne goltz and I don't believe she was in this prison cell with your mother.
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Helen Epstein: So that prompted me to go back and find my mother's manuscript which she had written in 1974 i'm sure many of your parents have written.
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Helen Epstein: Their wartime experiences and they're sitting in some drawer somewhere.
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Helen Epstein: And that's where my mother's was my mother's was in a drawer somewhere and I found it and I found the episode that he was talking about.
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Helen Epstein: And I said I you know it's exactly as it's in my book, so if you'd like i'll scan the pages that comes from my mother's memoir I did not make this up, I don't make things up, I write a Christian so.
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Helen Epstein: I scan this stuff and I, and I sent it to him, and then I sat down and I read the manuscript from start to finish.
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Helen Epstein: Now what you need to know is that my mother died in 1989 very abruptly she was quite young she was 69 years old.
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Helen Epstein: And she hadn't left behind much stuff she had this manuscript and she had a she had some letters and she had a family history that I had used to write.
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Helen Epstein: where she came from, but the family history was only 12 pages long, this manuscript was 200 pages long, and as I read it in 2018.
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Helen Epstein: I very much was influenced by what was going on with the me to movement.
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Helen Epstein: And I thought you know this manuscript was rejected in 1975 because the world wasn't ready for it, they just weren't ready for a woman, like my mother, who talked very candidly about sex.
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Helen Epstein: Who was not at all prejudiced about heterosexual or homosexual sex and who really understood that there were lots of different.
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Helen Epstein: things that happened in the camps that needed to be written about that Primo levy hadn't written about that Elie Wiesel hadn't written about and that were.
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Helen Epstein: quite common in her experience and so she wrote all this stuff and I think people were horrified in the publishing industry, I mean in 1974 1975 there weren't too many women in the publishing industry, certainly not like today.
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Helen Epstein: and Jews were not all that forthcoming about what had happened in the war.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And the Holocaust was.
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Ellen Bachner Greenberg: wasn't necessarily talked about so little, let alone with your mother was writing.
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Helen Epstein: that's true so so I started reading it, and you have to understand i'm sure you do understand.
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Helen Epstein: That that that none of these stories when you to me I knew everything she had written in the book because she had told me so over I don't know 40 years or something.
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Helen Epstein: So I didn't think it was such a big deal, but I did think that it would be a great resource for scholars, because I was aware that over the last 40 years.
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Helen Epstein: women's studies had had come into full flower Jewish studies had come into full flower Holocaust studies had come into full flower and central European Studies was now a big deal, so I said I know what i'm going to do people in Prague.
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Helen Epstein: are going to love this book i'm going to send it to friends of mine who are academics in prod so I did that, and I said, would you be interested in publishing this as a monograph.
00:25:46.020 --> 00:25:57.660
Helen Epstein: And they all wrote back and said yeah we'd love to but at what we think you should go to an agent and try and publish it in the mainstream So the first publishers who bought it the first one was a Slovak publisher.
00:25:58.110 --> 00:26:09.360
Helen Epstein: The second one was a check publisher and only the third one, was an American publisher and then the fourth one was a British publisher my mother was liberated by the British armies and there's a whole section about.
00:26:09.990 --> 00:26:18.630
Helen Epstein: liberation and the aftermath so so yeah so it turned into this very surprising and gratifying experience.
00:26:18.660 --> 00:26:22.440
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And it's now in what six six different languages, six countries.
00:26:22.740 --> 00:26:35.280
Helen Epstein: I think it's a 999 and eight languages or seven languages, you can go on the website Francis war, and you can see, as you were talking about earlier that the the incredibly different covers.
00:26:35.550 --> 00:26:36.390
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: yeah as.
00:26:37.200 --> 00:26:49.500
Helen Epstein: Of course, the Holocaust has now become very fashionable reading some of the covers are kind of racy and racier than I would have wanted, but that's the way they do it in some countries.
00:26:50.040 --> 00:26:58.140
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: So just like your mother, you were way ahead of your time in in what you thought and what you wrote and.
00:26:58.170 --> 00:27:08.430
Helen Epstein: I think I was very influenced by my mother and I think what was surprising to me in working on her book was I realized that my writing jeans came from her.
00:27:08.850 --> 00:27:21.990
Helen Epstein: But she was a very good writer she wasn't she wasn't a practiced writer, she was she very much like to being a dressmaker and address designer she had no aspirations to be a writer, but she was a good writer right.
00:27:22.230 --> 00:27:31.020
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Now let's talk about your father what was he, like his impact and what was the relationship between your parents and what was life, like in the Epstein household.
00:27:32.040 --> 00:27:43.710
Helen Epstein: Well, my parents were extremely different and like many parents of the people in this Community they probably would have never married each other and they wouldn't have probably never met each other, ahead of the war.
00:27:44.820 --> 00:28:01.560
Helen Epstein: My mother was this incredibly sophisticated fashion designer extremely elegant who spoke four languages was born in power prod wanted to die in Prague adored Prague went to the Opera and theater etc, my father fell asleep at the Opera.
00:28:02.580 --> 00:28:13.620
Helen Epstein: My father was from a small town called the road need set on the Elbe, and his father was the president of the town's synagogue.
00:28:14.100 --> 00:28:19.470
Helen Epstein: And the Epstein family had lived in roading it said back to the 17th century.
00:28:19.770 --> 00:28:32.520
Helen Epstein: And had had a leather factory in road knutson before they had a leather factory they had a tannery, which is one of the classic Jewish professions in in in 19th century and 18th century Europe.
00:28:33.000 --> 00:28:44.070
Helen Epstein: So my father grew up as the as the second son of this factory owner in this small town His name was Epstein so he was clearly a Jew.
00:28:44.700 --> 00:28:57.120
Helen Epstein: And he decided he wrote me and says on the Elbe river and he just loved swimming in the Elbe river and by the time he was a team, he was he was competing in swimming championships.
00:28:57.510 --> 00:29:05.520
Helen Epstein: And he went on to become a water player who represented Czechoslovakia in two Olympic game, and one of them was the Berlin Olympics.
00:29:05.970 --> 00:29:15.000
Helen Epstein: So it's very it was always very hard for me to understand this, I have inherited neither one of my parents passions i'm not interested in competitive sports.
00:29:15.510 --> 00:29:24.840
Helen Epstein: Not at all interested in fashion, so I never really got this until recently, but he was a famous athlete in Czechoslovakia.
00:29:25.140 --> 00:29:32.010
Helen Epstein: And after the war was over, and he came home, he was elected to the national Czechoslovak Olympic Committee.
00:29:32.370 --> 00:29:44.460
Helen Epstein: He was he was like a big deal and water polo was a big sport in Czechoslovakia i'm not sure it was like baseball in America, but maybe it was like basketball in America or hockey in America and any rate.
00:29:45.120 --> 00:29:55.860
Helen Epstein: He came to America they they they were they both decided to leave check us out they decided to come home to product from the camps, they were very, very pro check very check identified.
00:29:56.370 --> 00:30:07.500
Helen Epstein: And they only left Czechoslovakia after the Communists to go over in 1948 so they got to New York in late summer of 1948.
00:30:07.920 --> 00:30:15.690
Helen Epstein: And my mother was able to start working right away because there were many check immigrants who had come before her and many Jewish immigrants.
00:30:15.900 --> 00:30:25.110
Helen Epstein: who had come before her to New York and a lot of them had enough money to buy clothes from a from a private dressmaker so she bought herself a sewing machine and she started working immediately.
00:30:25.440 --> 00:30:37.020
Helen Epstein: My father was unemployed for 10 years for the first 10 years of my life, he was 44 when he came to the New York City he didn't speak a word of English, he only spoke check.
00:30:38.190 --> 00:30:47.370
Helen Epstein: It my mother had a very, very hard time those first 10 years because you can imagine, my father was born in 1904 so he didn't really know how to.
00:30:47.610 --> 00:30:57.510
Helen Epstein: help out in the House, he didn't know how to cook he came from well off family, so he wasn't too much of a help and he was unemployed all of the time, so my mother was.
00:30:58.680 --> 00:31:03.570
Helen Epstein: earning a living managing the household and doing the cooking and having children.
00:31:03.960 --> 00:31:15.930
Helen Epstein: And my mother had come out of the war, much more damage than my father right there had psychosomatic problems she had physical problems, my father who had been an athlete had come out of the war.
00:31:16.620 --> 00:31:26.610
Helen Epstein: not great, but better than my mother did he had lost a lot of weight I believe he weighed 95 pounds when he was liberated, and he was six foot one.
00:31:26.970 --> 00:31:40.770
Helen Epstein: So um but he kind of came back to a a a not a more normal kind of life, if I had to say who the the designated survivor in the family was definitely my mother.
00:31:41.010 --> 00:31:44.820
Helen Epstein: She had the problem is even though my father was the one who was unemployed.
00:31:45.210 --> 00:32:01.260
Helen Epstein: And I also have to say that I benefited from this tremendously because my father was always around to play with me and because he was an athlete he taught me every sport, he knew, so I know how to play pretty much every sport there is, and I certainly am a good swimmer.
00:32:01.830 --> 00:32:14.310
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Right and, certainly, as you said to me, before is that he came here is this water polo expert and there really isn't an industry for water polo experts in.
00:32:14.730 --> 00:32:15.390
Helen Epstein: New York.
00:32:15.480 --> 00:32:24.180
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Not not in New York now let's talk, I know I know that you've been very involved lately with project in the Czech Republic.
00:32:25.110 --> 00:32:27.060
Helen Epstein: That you very so um.
00:32:28.230 --> 00:32:32.310
Helen Epstein: I don't know, maybe, maybe it's because I grew up speaking check.
00:32:32.850 --> 00:32:50.130
Helen Epstein: Maybe it's because my father was so so so much of his life was tied up with Czechoslovakia, he was a lieutenant in the Czech Czechoslovakia army and, in fact, his garrison was terrorism which later became the concentration camp in which he was he was intern.
00:32:50.280 --> 00:32:51.210
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: right round trip.
00:32:51.510 --> 00:33:04.860
Helen Epstein: round trip right trip but um I saw I after that first encounter with with my place of birth, it during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
00:33:05.310 --> 00:33:15.450
Helen Epstein: I went back many times, first, I went back because I still had cousins they're distant cousins but i'm one of my cousins was kitty.
00:33:15.780 --> 00:33:27.720
Helen Epstein: With whom my mother had survived the war, and if you read frenzies war you'll read all about pity and kitty always wanted me to come visit her, especially during the Cold War, when nobody went to visit Czechoslovakia.
00:33:28.260 --> 00:33:36.720
Helen Epstein: And then afterwards, when I started writing where she came from, I had to go to Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution to do my research.
00:33:37.110 --> 00:33:45.060
Helen Epstein: And the more research, I did, and the more people I met and interviewed the more I just got attached to the culture and.
00:33:45.600 --> 00:33:56.670
Helen Epstein: I have to say I had been really focusing on my mother's family, I was much more interested in my mother's family because they were very, very colorful and crazy and URBAN.
00:33:57.270 --> 00:34:01.440
Helen Epstein: And brilliant and my father's family where these kind of backwater.
00:34:02.130 --> 00:34:17.790
Helen Epstein: small town, Jews and the their biggest claim to fame was that my my grandfather and had this leather factory and my father had been a water polo champion and since I wasn't interested really in either I just forgot about it until one day.
00:34:18.930 --> 00:34:28.470
Helen Epstein: I found out that the read, one of the regional museums in the Czech Republic was housed in my father's home.
00:34:28.920 --> 00:34:38.220
Helen Epstein: So the epstein's had this House and rodents which I had first scene in 1991 That was the first time i've gone back there and um.
00:34:39.210 --> 00:34:46.710
Helen Epstein: I thought well you know i've been focusing on my mother's life, and I have, I have tons and tons of photographs that's The other thing, this is a very.
00:34:47.520 --> 00:34:59.370
Helen Epstein: unusual thing in our Community, to have tons of folks so the reason I have them is that they were saved on the one hand by my mother's customers who were very devoted to my mother and my grandmother.
00:34:59.730 --> 00:35:09.390
Helen Epstein: And then, on my father's side they were all saved by his water fellow teammates his best friend with the goalie for the Czechoslovak water polo team and so.
00:35:09.750 --> 00:35:16.080
Helen Epstein: I have like literally dozens of photographs of my father in all kinds of bathing suits.
00:35:17.280 --> 00:35:31.140
Helen Epstein: Competing, and so I I wrote cold to the director of the Museum in rodents and I said, you know your museum is housed in my father's birthplace and my.
00:35:31.560 --> 00:35:34.020
Helen Epstein: Father and my great uncle built that.
00:35:34.080 --> 00:35:42.900
Helen Epstein: house and wouldn't it be a great idea to have a little exhibit about him and much to my surprise, the director who is an archaeologist.
00:35:43.500 --> 00:35:52.170
Helen Epstein: wrote back and said such a great idea let's talk about it next time you're in Prague so next time I went to the Czech Republic, I actually went to to.
00:35:52.800 --> 00:36:01.620
Helen Epstein: to lay stolper Steiner, which is our Community does and I took my youngest might my older son and my husband.
00:36:02.040 --> 00:36:12.630
Helen Epstein: And they invited us to wrote me and said, and we, you know we were traveling we didn't dress up we get to wrote it said, and they tell us oh you're going to a reception in the municipality.
00:36:13.050 --> 00:36:23.910
Helen Epstein: And they had organized this elaborate reception with the Mayor and with all kinds of people with a television crew and a banquet and that's how this.
00:36:24.660 --> 00:36:42.120
Helen Epstein: homecoming began, and since that happened we have an exhibit planned it was supposed to open this summer, but it's not going to because of covert and the other thing that's happened, quite apart from this again I opened my email on.
00:36:42.120 --> 00:36:44.160
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Wednesday you just never know where things.
00:36:44.190 --> 00:36:45.630
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: didn't go that's great.
00:36:46.230 --> 00:36:57.420
Helen Epstein: So one day I opened my email, and there is an email from Prague from a furniture maker, who says i'm using the floorboards from your father's house.
00:36:58.170 --> 00:37:02.280
Helen Epstein: To make coffee tables in the style of the first republic of Czechoslovakia.
00:37:02.880 --> 00:37:09.600
Helen Epstein: And I, and I wrote back, and I said that sounds great, but how can you be using the floorboards from my father's house one that's the museum.
00:37:10.050 --> 00:37:17.760
Helen Epstein: That No, this is not the museum, this is your grandfather his factory, which has been which has, which is a ruin right now.
00:37:18.120 --> 00:37:27.900
Helen Epstein: And it has been bought by a couple in Prague we're renovating it and plan to move in to it and they'll be in touch with you, too, so when I get to pry.
00:37:28.440 --> 00:37:40.140
Helen Epstein: After the covert epidemic, we are going to run it said, and we are going to see my grandfather's factory refurbished as a family multifamily dwelling and we're.
00:37:40.380 --> 00:37:40.980
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Getting this.
00:37:41.040 --> 00:37:50.850
Helen Epstein: exhibit at the museum, which is, in my father's House so i'm very, very tied to yes elements and check us in the Czech Republic.
00:37:51.180 --> 00:37:52.710
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And they've been very kind to you.
00:37:53.010 --> 00:38:12.420
Helen Epstein: they've been extraordinary to me, I mean they have it, they have neo Nazis, just like everybody else does right, but in the Czech Republic, the neo Nazis are really counterbalanced by this very, very unusually history conscious and i'm interested in Jews group of people.
00:38:14.160 --> 00:38:19.230
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: that's good to know so um any idea what you'll do after that.
00:38:20.310 --> 00:38:22.590
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Now i'm just going to wait to open your next email.
00:38:23.430 --> 00:38:45.780
Helen Epstein: Right now, I actually am interested in writing a cancer during coven memoir and i'm particularly interested in sharing my experience with with people who aren't as well connected, as I am, and who didn't receive as extraordinary cares I did here in Massachusetts so that's my next project.
00:38:46.650 --> 00:38:47.250
00:38:48.510 --> 00:39:02.370
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Any lessons that that you can impart to them in this book about what helped you get through, because you know I spoke to during it and he posted on Facebook and you were brave enough optimistic and.
00:39:03.540 --> 00:39:05.280
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: You know, is there anything you can share.
00:39:05.310 --> 00:39:14.400
Helen Epstein: I think I really learned from my parents had to get through tough situations, I mean, first of all, I really leaned on my friends and family.
00:39:14.910 --> 00:39:29.700
Helen Epstein: um I found that my family was just extraordinary I have two brothers three sisters in law five nephews and nieces and you know I grew up without any of that so.
00:39:30.360 --> 00:39:50.280
Helen Epstein: I I kind of leaned on them, and I really, really leaned on my friends, I asked my friends to give me film recommendations I asked everyone who could to send me food, I wanted to eat, really, really well and people send me my sister in law sent me a package from sabres.
00:39:51.330 --> 00:40:00.750
Helen Epstein: I had people begging me brownies and begging me a lot, it was really I was, and they also visited me because I live in the suburbs and we have a big yard.
00:40:00.990 --> 00:40:09.360
Helen Epstein: So people would come all the time and sit, of course, far apart, but it was it was it was not a terrible terrible time.
00:40:09.810 --> 00:40:15.150
Helen Epstein: And I have to say that what I learned from my parents was to just stay in the moment.
00:40:15.720 --> 00:40:29.790
Helen Epstein: realize, who are the people who love you and who can help you and focus on one thing at a time and just get through each day and sometimes it was very hard, but I think it was harder for my husband than it was for me, because he had to witness it.
00:40:30.510 --> 00:40:44.940
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Right and he you know everyone was championing around you to support you and oftentimes the partner is the one who's feeling the pain and can't express it and no one's there to really hold them in.
00:40:45.210 --> 00:40:48.630
Helen Epstein: Right and i'll be reading about that too right.
00:40:49.140 --> 00:40:57.270
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: All right, well let's let's turn to our some of the questions that have been coming in and and will address some.
00:40:58.350 --> 00:40:58.890
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Any.
00:41:00.270 --> 00:41:12.840
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Okay here's a question from Maryland can you speak more on the effects on you by your parents experienced in this show you spoke of the trains reminding you of the calc or is there anything else.
00:41:13.680 --> 00:41:17.610
Helen Epstein: yeah i'd like to talk about something that psychologists called association.
00:41:19.440 --> 00:41:25.890
Helen Epstein: Association for those of you who aren't psychologists can probably best be described.
00:41:26.370 --> 00:41:33.060
Helen Epstein: As experiencing something in the moment as both happening, but not really happening to you.
00:41:33.360 --> 00:41:41.670
Helen Epstein: So that you kind of split into two people a person who's there experiencing it and a person who's observing it but not really feeling it.
00:41:42.060 --> 00:41:55.650
Helen Epstein: Now what's interesting is that my mother describes this experience in Auschwitz after her cousin kitty tells her that people are being gassed and burn to death in Auschwitz.
00:41:56.010 --> 00:42:07.470
Helen Epstein: And she really goes through the rest of the war feeling that dissociative state, and she describes herself in the book, from that point on, as her number, not as her name.
00:42:07.950 --> 00:42:29.760
Helen Epstein: Now, I think that what happened to me as a child was that, when she told me these stories I would dissociate I would hear what she was saying, but I wouldn't really internalize it I somehow was able to hear it, but not to believe it.
00:42:30.270 --> 00:42:31.350
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Not to take it in.
00:42:31.440 --> 00:42:39.780
Helen Epstein: Not to take it in some cases I actually refused to take to take it in at all, for example, for Auschwitz number 10.
00:42:40.440 --> 00:42:50.130
Helen Epstein: I could never remember that tattoo and it's not that difficult to remember, I mean it was a and then for numbers and I could never remember it.
00:42:50.550 --> 00:43:00.780
Helen Epstein: And that i'm that I that ability that dissociative style is something that is both a very good thing, and a very bad thing.
00:43:01.230 --> 00:43:11.100
Helen Epstein: it's a very good thing in emergency situations, I think it was a very good thing, during my cancer situation I just associated I just.
00:43:11.610 --> 00:43:21.900
Helen Epstein: refused to take it all in even when I was getting chemo I just wouldn't look at the tubes I looked at my electronics I watched Hamilton while I was getting chemo.
00:43:22.500 --> 00:43:33.810
Helen Epstein: And so, in that sense it's a wonderful Defense I think the bad part of it is is in intimate relationships, when the person who you're in.
00:43:34.590 --> 00:43:48.690
Helen Epstein: engaging with wants you to be fully there and you're not fully there you're partly there and part of you is not there, so that's one example of in the back of my mother's experience on me, I think.
00:43:50.130 --> 00:43:59.670
Helen Epstein: Something something in my behavior that I adopted because my parents were survivors was to be a little miss sunshine all the time.
00:44:01.290 --> 00:44:15.300
Helen Epstein: My mother was extremely depressive she was suicidal she would often lock herself up in the bathroom and say she didn't want to live that was very scary to me when I was a child.
00:44:15.480 --> 00:44:21.030
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Any idea of she was like that, before the war or if your grandmother was like that, or you.
00:44:21.360 --> 00:44:22.770
Helen Epstein: know just the war.
00:44:23.100 --> 00:44:36.270
Helen Epstein: I know that there isn't a depressive streak and my mother's side of the family, my great grandmother committed suicide in Vienna, she jumped out a window and Vienna, she was extremely poor and she was extremely depressed.
00:44:36.690 --> 00:44:44.670
Helen Epstein: my grandmother was also suicidal and she actually went into psychoanalysis very early in 1908.
00:44:45.150 --> 00:44:55.350
Helen Epstein: because she was so suicidal and my mother also went into therapy, on the other hand, my father was not at all suicidal not at all depressive.
00:44:55.710 --> 00:45:10.740
Helen Epstein: But my job, it seemed to me, even as a very small child was to cheer everybody up and that is why I have this sometimes of noxious Lee cheerful personality which drive some people crazy and.
00:45:10.830 --> 00:45:13.710
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: It drives him crazy it's good right so.
00:45:13.740 --> 00:45:15.210
Helen Epstein: Those are two examples.
00:45:16.230 --> 00:45:17.940
Helen Epstein: I hope that answered your question.
00:45:18.450 --> 00:45:30.660
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: yeah and now, and I appreciate this I remember speaking with you about your mother's number, and you are verbal from an early age you're observant you see everything you notice thing.
00:45:31.050 --> 00:45:39.060
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: But the fact, and this was for me to that your mother didn't hire her number, it was there and and you couldn't see it.
00:45:40.140 --> 00:45:41.250
Helen Epstein: Not only that.
00:45:41.250 --> 00:45:44.820
Helen Epstein: But I also observed, you know, because my mother, my mother had lots of.
00:45:45.780 --> 00:45:56.220
Helen Epstein: Employees and clients, in addition to friends and she worked at home, so I was the kind of you know, when I came home from school, they were half dressed women in our living with them trying on clothes.
00:45:56.670 --> 00:46:07.440
Helen Epstein: And so I also knew that some survivors had the number taken off cut out of their arm and I remember very clearly so protective vibrant and mitzi.
00:46:08.160 --> 00:46:19.290
Helen Epstein: Who, who had this had this rectangle of white flesh on her arm so it's amazing that I could remember that, but I couldn't remember the number yeah you.
00:46:20.310 --> 00:46:26.760
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: here's a question from Karen have your views about children of survivors changed over the years.
00:46:27.660 --> 00:46:38.280
Helen Epstein: Not very much I have to say something quite immodest when I go back and I read the books i've written I actually think they're really good and.
00:46:38.790 --> 00:46:39.960
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: You said that they are.
00:46:40.500 --> 00:46:48.120
Helen Epstein: There isn't I just recently did a did a hundredth anniversary show for about Joseph papp man who.
00:46:48.600 --> 00:46:55.950
Helen Epstein: started the New York Shakespeare festival, and I had forgotten so much because I wrote the book in 1990, and so I had to go back and read it, and I thought.
00:46:56.160 --> 00:47:05.790
Helen Epstein: wow this is really interesting, this is good reading and that's how I feel when I read children or the Holocaust, I feel that um my views about.
00:47:06.150 --> 00:47:23.250
Helen Epstein: What I wrote there really haven't changed very much um if I had to write it again today, the only thing I would probably change is I you know I had chosen very carefully chosen people to profile in that book right.
00:47:23.940 --> 00:47:28.350
Helen Epstein: So that there's rapport taj and there is my story and and there are lots of other people's stories.
00:47:28.650 --> 00:47:43.830
Helen Epstein: And so I would certainly take care to include a gay child of survivors, and I think I would also include a second generation child of non Jews who was in the camps, because since writing that book I have gotten so much.
00:47:44.460 --> 00:47:56.040
Helen Epstein: mail both snail and email from non Jews who whose parents were in the Second World War in some capacity either they were American children of American pow.
00:47:56.670 --> 00:48:13.080
Helen Epstein: or children of Dutch PO w's or children of resistance fighters or children of non Jews who were interned in the camps and all of those people have very similar issues to ours right but.
00:48:13.110 --> 00:48:18.270
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: But when you will you know when you were writing it in in the first book, you were what 28 years old.
00:48:19.740 --> 00:48:37.860
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And you knew all this you saw it, but in the 40 plus years since then and you've had life experiences and and maturity, looking back at your parents and and other survivors, do you see things differently, can you understand more.
00:48:39.120 --> 00:48:41.310
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: What your childhood was like and why.
00:48:42.840 --> 00:48:53.430
Helen Epstein: I suppose, so I suppose that i'm writing the long half lives of 11 trauma really helped me understand my mother much better, I mean you know.
00:48:53.910 --> 00:49:01.200
Helen Epstein: There hasn't been a whole lot written about what happened to women and their sense of self during the war.
00:49:01.740 --> 00:49:17.700
Helen Epstein: And because my mother was in the fashion industry, and I was not interested in fashion, I never gave much thought to what had happened to her sense of herself as a woman and in reading her book I realized that.
00:49:19.380 --> 00:49:26.070
Helen Epstein: That sense of self was really destroyed, I mean she didn't think she was attractive she certainly didn't think she was beautiful.
00:49:27.120 --> 00:49:38.250
Helen Epstein: She wound up having an affair, when I was a small child with with a non Jewish and non Jewish man who was actually my my nanny's husband.
00:49:38.790 --> 00:49:46.680
Helen Epstein: And one of the reasons she gave, for it was she her sense of self as a Jewish woman had been so damaged.
00:49:46.920 --> 00:49:56.940
Helen Epstein: That the idea that this non Jew thought she was beautiful and thought she was sexy and thought she was lovable was so important to her far more important than my father.
00:49:57.120 --> 00:50:05.610
Helen Epstein: thinking that she was beautiful I father was 16 years older than she was, and you know he he he thought that he had won the lottery when when they got married.
00:50:06.150 --> 00:50:17.040
Helen Epstein: And so, all of that, I can understand much better now, but in terms of I kind of got the whole thing when I was 28 I just got it.
00:50:17.250 --> 00:50:18.090
Helen Epstein: And what I did.
00:50:18.150 --> 00:50:27.750
Helen Epstein: What I didn't get myself I got from other people, because I interviewed so many people and I heard so many stories that um I really got it.
00:50:28.110 --> 00:50:37.080
Helen Epstein: You know some of the most amazing stories are from people who didn't know they were Jewish until they were 30 or 40 or 50 years old.
00:50:37.440 --> 00:50:48.000
Helen Epstein: And that was astonishing to me because you know, for me, I always it can't be named Epstein and not know you're Jewish, especially in New York City, and I suppose that was.
00:50:49.410 --> 00:51:03.780
Helen Epstein: But I understood that too, because I met those people back then I would I was just very, very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and I met this incredible variety of people from people around from all around the world right.
00:51:05.070 --> 00:51:18.540
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Okay here's a question from Stephen would you suggest other children of survivors, but their family collects collections in writing, what else can children of survivors do to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.
00:51:19.530 --> 00:51:26.910
Helen Epstein: Why definitely think that finding documents in your family of any kind is really important.
00:51:27.390 --> 00:51:41.100
Helen Epstein: Look, for letters look for diaries look for photographs look for certificates there's all kinds of stuff around, and you, you never finish with this stuff.
00:51:41.820 --> 00:51:53.310
Helen Epstein: I thought I had done all the research, I could possibly do and then last week, when I did this reading of names from terrorism that was organized by the terrorism initiative.
00:51:53.760 --> 00:52:02.640
Helen Epstein: I started looking at the dates of when my my grandparents and when my uncles and when my cousin went to terrorism.
00:52:03.180 --> 00:52:10.710
Helen Epstein: And I realized just looking at the dates when they were deported from terrorism to Auschwitz or from terrorism into other points east.
00:52:11.040 --> 00:52:22.440
Helen Epstein: That my father had been able to protect his parents, because he was a quartermaster in terrorism and, as he had been in the Czechoslovak army, but he's been able to protect his brother.
00:52:22.980 --> 00:52:31.560
Helen Epstein: Either of his brothers at more his nephew and for the first time that you know we're talking about somebody who's been doing this research 50 years.
00:52:31.770 --> 00:52:42.030
Helen Epstein: For the first time I realized oh there's all this stuff that my father never talked about, and the only way I can reconstruct it is through these documents.
00:52:42.570 --> 00:52:53.280
Helen Epstein: And you know, through these archival things which just tell you dates and places So even if you have absolutely nothing, or you think you have absolutely nothing.
00:52:53.610 --> 00:53:04.260
Helen Epstein: You can go to the archives, the Yad Vashem archives are incredible at this point because so many people have put in witness statements about other survivors.
00:53:04.380 --> 00:53:17.730
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: And there's so much online, you can you can sit home in in the comfort of your own home and I found both take I found incredible documents and i'm assuming everybody else can as well right.
00:53:17.820 --> 00:53:25.350
Helen Epstein: And then, once you have the documents and once you have a sense of the story, then you tell your story, and you tell your story to.
00:53:25.920 --> 00:53:37.590
Helen Epstein: People who you get into conversations with about life, you know I live in a neighborhood, which is in a suburban neighborhood, which is extremely heterogeneous.
00:53:37.920 --> 00:53:45.960
Helen Epstein: I have African American neighbors I have Asian American neighbors I have a Venezuelan neighbor right across the street from me right now.
00:53:46.320 --> 00:53:56.730
Helen Epstein: And when I get into conversations with them, I tell them what my history is you know, I have a sign in my yard that says black lives matter and another sign that says agent lives matter.
00:53:57.030 --> 00:54:10.830
Helen Epstein: And people notice and they asked me about it and they say well why Why are you doing this, and I say, well, you, you know they're black kids in the neighborhood I want them to know i'm on their side and here's why I want them to know what I am on their side.
00:54:11.040 --> 00:54:11.430
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Because.
00:54:11.520 --> 00:54:15.150
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Why is because of what happened during the Holocaust right.
00:54:15.540 --> 00:54:16.440
Helen Epstein: it's like the haggadah.
00:54:17.040 --> 00:54:25.230
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Right right so in essence you're really telling your story and explaining it to people to write.
00:54:25.350 --> 00:54:41.310
Helen Epstein: run this and you know many of us have opportunities professionally where we can add this to the conversation i'm not saying you know I go around with a sign saying, I am a child of Holocaust survivors, but when it comes up I do talk about it.
00:54:42.570 --> 00:54:44.190
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: it's a teaching moment.
00:54:47.250 --> 00:54:56.850
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: here's a question from amy many survivors married other survivors did that help or hurt them and raising children together.
00:54:58.380 --> 00:55:00.660
Helen Epstein: That is beyond my pay scale.
00:55:02.430 --> 00:55:04.770
Helen Epstein: I think that's a question, you should ask Eva fogleman.
00:55:06.000 --> 00:55:23.220
Helen Epstein: Who has done a lot more work than I have but um they're just different I mean my my husband is a child of survivors his parents were Romanian survivors would they have been better parents if each of them had married somebody who wasn't a survivor I hard to say.
00:55:24.630 --> 00:55:38.670
Helen Epstein: I cannot imagine my parents not marrying survivors after what they had been through so it's kind of an academic question for me, I do know and have interviewed people whose where 1111 person.
00:55:38.670 --> 00:55:39.960
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Was mixed marriage.
00:55:40.170 --> 00:55:43.140
Helen Epstein: When mixed marriage one parent with a survivor and one parent was not.
00:55:44.550 --> 00:55:50.580
Helen Epstein: They have different kinds of problems, but they have problems too, and certainly issues right.
00:55:50.820 --> 00:55:57.060
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: and your husband's family were survivors as well did was his knowledge as extensive.
00:55:57.090 --> 00:55:58.710
Helen Epstein: as yours about his family story.
00:55:58.920 --> 00:56:13.680
Helen Epstein: My husband does absolutely not one thing about what happened to his family before the war, except that his parents got married in Bucharest in during the war sometime we're not even sure what date is.
00:56:13.740 --> 00:56:16.380
Helen Epstein: Right and they were in a hotel.
00:56:16.950 --> 00:56:27.810
Helen Epstein: They had breakfast they went out for a walk and when they came back the hotel was gone it had been bombed that's the only story, we know about the war, we know.
00:56:28.050 --> 00:56:40.080
Helen Epstein: kind of from other people that his mother and her family were hidden in a village where they paid everybody off, and we know that his father had been in a work camp, but that's it.
00:56:40.860 --> 00:56:52.560
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: So that's up to me of what you said that everybody came out differently and everybody handles and processes differently, and certainly you and your husband's family are dramatically different.
00:56:53.010 --> 00:56:59.460
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Well i'm looking at the time now and wonderful conversation and boy did it go fast.
00:56:59.790 --> 00:57:11.490
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: So I would like to thank everyone from all over the country in the world and for for joining us tonight and certainly for Helen for your time and for speaking so honestly and openly.
00:57:11.880 --> 00:57:29.730
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: About yours your story your history and your family, and thank you to the museum for offering this program and all the other excellent programs that you offer during the year all the different topics and thank you already and i'll turn it back over nori.
00:57:30.720 --> 00:57:31.800
Helen Epstein: And thank you all for coming.
00:57:33.660 --> 00:57:41.250
Ari Goldstein: Both so much Ellen Ellen that was meaningful Christine and I was just thinking, while you were speaking, there were.
00:57:43.380 --> 00:57:52.470
Ari Goldstein: In 2009 statistics that there were 55,000 Holocaust survivors in the New York area, so I would guess originally there were a couple hundred thousand Holocaust survivors, so there must be.
00:57:52.770 --> 00:58:02.100
Ari Goldstein: A million plus chill chill I mean this is on the spot matt there a lot of children of survivors in New York and around the country, so the community of people.
00:58:02.460 --> 00:58:06.480
Ari Goldstein: And that you're talking about these experiences is so large and the lessons.
00:58:06.780 --> 00:58:17.040
Ari Goldstein: In the experiences of kids of survivors are, in some ways, universal to a lot of different communities and people that have experienced some ways they're really particular but there's also something universal so it's just.
00:58:17.670 --> 00:58:26.340
Ari Goldstein: it's a privilege to learn from you and to reflect on what you're saying thank you, I thank you Ellen and Eva fogleman in the descendants of polygons.
00:58:26.820 --> 00:58:35.730
Ari Goldstein: being such a great partner of the museum and mentioned that we have another joint program in June with minimum rosen staff who put a link to in the chat.
00:58:36.180 --> 00:58:43.530
Ari Goldstein: And a very special thank you to our partners at the battery park city authority who so generously sponsor programming programming at the museum.
00:58:43.830 --> 00:58:54.630
Ari Goldstein: This evening's program is sponsored in part to the battery park city authority Community partnership and we have two upcoming programs that we put in the chat that are also a part of that community partnership with battery park city so.
00:58:55.110 --> 00:59:02.790
Ari Goldstein: And lastly, I of course had mentioned that we are very grateful for those of you who support the museum by making a donation or be members.
00:59:03.210 --> 00:59:09.360
Ari Goldstein: there's a link to the membership in the chat if you're interested in joining our Community it's a great way to support our work and we are grateful for it so.
00:59:10.620 --> 00:59:15.780
Ari Goldstein: Thank you again Helen Thank you Oh, and thank you all for being here and we wish everyone a Goody.
00:59:16.530 --> 00:59:19.320
Ellen Bachner Greenberg: Good Thank you bye bye.