May-31: Zoom interview with Esther Safran Foer

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Following a successful live event with 550+ people tuning in to hear the author of Unorthodox, Deborah Feldman, interviewed by Michaela Kalowski, the Shalom Sydney Jewish Writers Festival has announced its next online event.

Esther Safran Foer, the former CEO of Washington Jewish arts centre, Sixth & I, has written a poignant and moving memoir, I Want You to Know We’re Still Here, about her journey to uncover her parents’ stories of survival, and the impact on four generations living in the shadow of the Shoah.

Esther Safran Foer grew up in a family in which both parents were each the sole survivors of their respective families, however, the Holocaust, their pre-war life, and their survival was rarely discussed. The result was a childhood marked by painful silences and continued tragedy. Esther built a successful career, married, and raised three children, yet always felt herself searching. As an adult, her mother casually mentioned an astonishing revelation—that her father had a previous wife and daughter, both killed in the Holocaust. This inspired the novel and film Everything is Illuminated by son Jonathan Safran Foer. Years later, Esther resolved to find out more about her family, and how her father survived. Armed with only a black-and-white photo and a hand-drawn map, she travels to Ukraine. What she finds reshapes her identity and gives her the opportunity to finally mourn.

Esther will be interviewed by Andrew Jakubowicz, an emeritus professor in Sociology at UTS who is currently conducting his own family research, exploring communication between family members who escaped from Lithuania to Japan on Sugihara visas, and their family who was trapped in the Łódź ghetto, Vienna and a Morko camp in the Mari ASSR.  

The interview will take place over Zoom on Sunday 31st May at 10am. This is a free event, however, tickets must be booked at www.shalom.edu.auor by contacting Anna Stern at [email protected] 

 

 

 

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