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Such Good Girls
Cover of Such Good Girls
Such Good Girls
The Journey of the Holocaust's Hidden Child Survivors
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Edgar Award-winning mystery novelist R. D. Rosen tells the story of the hidden children who survived the Holocaust through the lives of three girls hidden in three different countries—among the less than 10 percent of Jewish children in Europe to survive World War II—who went on to lead remarkable lives in New York City.

Only one in ten Jewish children in Europe survived the Holocaust, many in hiding. In Such Good Girls, R. D. Rosen tells the story of these survivors through the true experiences of three girls.

Sophie Turner-Zaretsky, who spent the war years believing she was an anti-Semitic Catholic schoolgirl, eventually became an esteemed radiation oncologist. Flora Hogman, protected by a succession of Christians, emerged from the war a lonely, lost orphan, but became a psychologist who pioneered the study of hidden child survivors. Unlike Anne Frank, Carla Lessing made it through the war concealed with her family in the home of Dutch strangers before becoming a psychotherapist and key player in the creation of an international organization of hidden child survivors.

In braiding the stories of three women who defied death by learning to be "such good girls," Rosen examines a silent and silenced generation—the last living cohort of Holocaust survivors. He provides rich, memorable portraits of a handful of hunted children who, as adults, were determined to deny Hitler any more victories, and he recreates the extraordinary event that lured so many hidden child survivors out of their grown-up "hiding places" and finally brought them together.

Edgar Award-winning mystery novelist R. D. Rosen tells the story of the hidden children who survived the Holocaust through the lives of three girls hidden in three different countries—among the less than 10 percent of Jewish children in Europe to survive World War II—who went on to lead remarkable lives in New York City.

Only one in ten Jewish children in Europe survived the Holocaust, many in hiding. In Such Good Girls, R. D. Rosen tells the story of these survivors through the true experiences of three girls.

Sophie Turner-Zaretsky, who spent the war years believing she was an anti-Semitic Catholic schoolgirl, eventually became an esteemed radiation oncologist. Flora Hogman, protected by a succession of Christians, emerged from the war a lonely, lost orphan, but became a psychologist who pioneered the study of hidden child survivors. Unlike Anne Frank, Carla Lessing made it through the war concealed with her family in the home of Dutch strangers before becoming a psychotherapist and key player in the creation of an international organization of hidden child survivors.

In braiding the stories of three women who defied death by learning to be "such good girls," Rosen examines a silent and silenced generation—the last living cohort of Holocaust survivors. He provides rich, memorable portraits of a handful of hunted children who, as adults, were determined to deny Hitler any more victories, and he recreates the extraordinary event that lured so many hidden child survivors out of their grown-up "hiding places" and finally brought them together.

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About the Author-
  • R. D. Rosen has written or coauthored numerous books spanning different genres—from an Edgar Award-winning mystery novel to narrative nonfiction, including Psychobabble (a word he coined in 1975) and A Buffalo in the House. He has appeared as a humorist and satirist on PBS, HBO, and NPR's All Things Considered.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 7, 2014
    Of the 1–1.5 million Jewish children living in Nazi-occupied Europe, only 6–11% survived the Holocaust, many of them in hiding. Veteran writer Rosen (Psychobabble) devotes the first half of this book to telling the stories of three girls—one Polish, one French, and one Dutch—who endured sudden name changes, loss of Jewish identity, fear of being denounced, and frequent relocation. He also relates what happened after all three resettled in the U.S. after the war. In the book’s second half, Rosen addresses hidden children’s lingering emotional wounds, their issues with religious and ethnic identity, and their attempts to find each other, which began in the late 1970s. Rosen also discusses issues the few other authors who have previously written about this population have neglected, such as sexual abuse in hiding. A fine writer with a good sense of pacing and drama, Rosen sometimes tries to cover too much too quickly and, near the book’s end, he errs in maintaining that child survivors “are like the victims of a rare, incurable, ambulatory disease with no visible symptoms.” Yet these are relatively minor flaws in an otherwise valuable contribution to the literature of one of the less-discussed aspects of the Shoah. 16-page b&w photo insert.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2014

    Rosen (A Buffalo in the House) begins this heartbreaking tale by describing how he became acquainted with Sophie Turner-Zaretzky, a retired radiologist and one of thousands of Jewish children who survived the Holocaust by disguising their Jewish identities. Her story led Rosen to two other women, Flora Hogman and Carla Lessing, whose harrowing accounts also make for a dramatic telling. Later, Rosen moves beyond their individual histories toward the wider experience of Hidden Child Survivors, and how their psychological scars often prevented them from confronting their past and telling their stories. In the 1980s, the Hidden Child Survivors started sponsoring international conferences, which often acted as therapy sessions for the now aging population. This allowed the experiences of these formerly hidden children to become widely discussed and available to historians through such institutions as the Visual Shoah Foundation and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. VERDICT Rosen, who is primarily a novelist and poet, tells the story of these women and the varied community of survivors with sensitivity and genuine affection. General readers will enjoy the book, while a scholarly audience will not find anything startling new.--Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham and Second Hand Smoke "In the always harrowing and inspiring literature of Survival, R.D. Rosen's Such Good Girls makes a poignant and well-told contribution...The 'good girls' of this riveting tale pulled off the improbable, which he conveys with talent, warmth, and great humanity."
  • Myriam Abramowicz, co-director of As If It Were Yesterday "The first book that delves into the lesser-known aspect of children in hiding and the aftermath of the war years. Richly anecdotal, it reveals what it was like to become someone else-for a while-and then back again to whom one was meant to be."
  • Betsy Carter, author of The Puzzle King "R.D. Rosen has written about Jewish girls hidden in plain sight during the holocaust with such compassion and precision that his beautifully crafted words give a new voice to an unspeakable time. Such Good Girls is a story you will not forget."
  • Library Journal "Rosen...tells the story of these women and the varied community of survivors with sensitivity and genuine affection."
  • Daniel Orkent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition R.D. Rosen has performed an essential service to both memory and understanding. The three women at the heart of Such Good Girls have lived remarkable lives, and Rosen has limned them with both empathy and grace.
  • Wall Street Journal "R.D. Rosen proves a deft chronicler of the uncertainty, upheaval and turmoil experienced by his subjects...Most powerful of all, he makes us see how the Holocaust's hidden children succeeded against the odds not just once, by surviving, but twice, through the resonant new lives they subsequently forged."
  • Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep "I was completely hooked. A superb book. Rosen writes beautifully. I wish it could be read by everyone."
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The Journey of the Holocaust's Hidden Child Survivors
R. D. Rosen
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