Lilly's Album: Based on true story book cover

Lilly's Album: Based on true story

An intense journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and terrible death. This is a powerful story of love, war, and remembrance. This unusual novel written by me, a holocaust survivor's son, is based on the trials and tribulations of my family that took place between the first and second world wars. It is a heart rendering tale of the journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and eventual death. The story is about burning love, the futility of war, and the extermination of innocent people because of different beliefs. Based on a true story, it took me three years of research and uncounted travel to Poland. It is not easy to read and is geared toward adult readers.

Genre: Action and Adventure, Non-Fiction, Romance

When the letter's content was published in the press, the Jewish members of the city administration of Wloszczowa organized a mass solidarity demonstration. All kindergartens and Jewish schoolchildren, including Hasidic schools and yeshiva students from the villages around, came to the assembly. The town square was full of celebrating people. Wolf and his son David were among the participants at the demonstration. Speeches were made, and the atmosphere was festive. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Bonds organization were absent, but the rest of the Zionist, religious and secular movements participated. This was one of the rare occasions when one could see bearded Hasidim embracing secular Jews and greeting them with blessings of thanks for the opportunity given to them by Her Majesty's Government to return the Jewish people to their homeland. Some came, although they did not understand the significance of the announcement. The feeling was that something grand was happening, and perhaps the Messiah had arrived to take them to the land of milk and honey. Many knew that the goal was to leave their beloved country, their homeland for many generations, the country they were loyal to, and their culture, language, and customs. They would have to leave all their accumulated wealth to start a new life elsewhere, in a hostile country with a harsh climate and a Muslim population who did not want them there. A few days after the great euphoria, everything calmed down. Life in the town returned to normal and remained relatively quiet. The occupying army had brought in their administrators, albeit German-speaking, and all government institutions, courts, and municipal offices re-opened. In addition, many street names have been changed, and the name of the Rynek (Market Square) was re-named, Franz Josef Platz. On market day, many soldiers bought merchandise also from Jewish vendors. However, the competition among the Polish vendors often led to riots, and Rynek Square became a battlefield. Roza and Emma got along well. Roza was the oldest of six daughters and one son of Isaac Friedberg, a businessman whose business went into bankruptcy, and he died of a broken heart at an early age. He was one of the sons of the well-known Jewish writer Abraham Shalom Friedberg, who died in 1902 and was buried in the Okopowa Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw. After Roza was born to Isaac and Leah, they had Ida and Berta. When his first wife died, Isaac re-married and had three daughters, Eugenia, Cesia, and his youngest daughter Emma and a son, Muniek. Since Roza remained single, she "adopted" her more youthful sister Emma, and they lived together in a small apartment. Once, when Emma returned from the all-girls school where she learned the art of embroidery and weaving, she brought home a thin booklet that she had hidden under her shirt. Roza noticed that Emma locked herself in her room every day and hardly came out, and she began to suspect something. One day Roza surprised Emma and entered her room as she was reading the booklet. "May I know what you are reading?" she asked curiously. "What difference does it make? Better that you don't know," Emma answered. "I demand that you tell me," Roza insisted. "It's the Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels," Emma replied. "Do you know that you are bringing trash into the house? Do you want us both to wind up in jail?" Roza screamed. "You have nothing to worry about. The revolution is already here," Emma replied in an authoritative voice of importance. "What are you talking about? I do not want to hear your nonsense," Roza retorted. "Did I not tell you that you were better off not knowing what I was reading? You don't want to listen to me," Emma began. "Poland is a nationalistic country, and we must eliminate nationalism because the proletariat is in a national trance. The proletariat must unite into one nation, but on the condition that they get rid of the bourgeoisie." Losing her wits, Roza shouted at the top of her lungs, "Shut up, I don't want to hear what you're saying. We will all go to jail because of you," and began to attack Emma trying to grab the brochure from her hands. "A new society will arise. Communism will rule a world where everybody will be equal. There will be no social classes and no religion. Don't you see the progress?" Emma insisted. Rose grabbed the booklet from Emma's hand and began tearing out pages and chewing on them. "They may not be found even in the garbage pail," Roza screamed. Emma did not get excited. Instead, she allowed Roza to go wild with the booklet as she watched it disappear in her throat. She stood up, pulled down her big backpack from on top of the closet, and began to pack her clothes and belongings. "What are you doing?" Roza asked. "I'm packing because I am leaving," Emma answered in a spine-chilling tone. "Where will you go?" Roza asked as tremors of anxiety could be heard in her voice. "To mother Russia, where I belong," she replied. Roza tried to dissuade her, saying," You are only seventeen. Do you know what can happen to you in Russia being all alone?" "I am almost eighteen," Emma snapped back. "I know exactly what I am doing. Do not worry about me. I will not write anything to you to avoid involving you." Roza approached her, hugged her, and said, "I will miss you very much. You are like a daughter to me, even though you are my younger sister." Emma hugged Roza tightly, cried quietly, and said, "I will not say goodbye to everyone. Please give them my love and ask them all for forgiveness. A fire is burning inside me, and I see in communism the world's future; it will finally reach Poland, and then I will return home to my family." Roza took a wad of bills she kept for a rainy day from a jar hidden in an alcove beside the fireplace. With tears in her eyes, Roza said, "This is for you so that you can arrive safely wherever that may be." Emma tried to push her away, but Roza stuffed the money into her coat pocket.
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Uri Jerzy Nachimson

Uri Jerzy Nachimson was born in Szczecin, Poland, in 1947, and two years later, his parents immigrated to Israel. In 1966 he was drafted into the Israeli army, where he served as a war photographer in the Northern Command and participated in the ‘six days war’ as a photographer in combat. His travels and adventures worldwide are recorded in the various books he has written, including Seeds of Love and Broken hearts at Boulevard Unirii. When he went back to Poland in 1990 to seek his roots, he was deeply affected by the attitude of the Poles towards the Jews both during and after World War II and decided to research the history of the Jews of Poland during that era. Thus the trilogy was born; Lilly's Album, The Polish Patriot and Identity. Uri's grandmother, Ida Friedberg, was the granddaughter of the known Jewish writer A.S. Friedberg, author of many books. In 2008, Uri relocated to Tuscany in Italy, where he lives with his wife. While in Cortona, he wrote: Two Margherita, Isabella, Into the depth of Silence, Violette & Ginger, Recalled to life, and Rembrandt for Sale. All of his books have been translated into many languages. more…

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