Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: Daughter Shares Memoir of A Broken Family

Child survivors, January, 1945Image via Wikipedia
"Channa will evade Nazi soldiers and survive WWII by the age of 12"
Broken Birds:

The Story of My Momila

By Jeannette Katzir

In many ways Broken Birds is a sad, but wonderfully detailed historical documentary of some of those events that took place during World War II and, in particular, what we know as The Holocaust. It is the story of a young girl and boy who narrowly escaped death and who later married. Each story is presented separately. Channa Poltzer is Momila; Nathan her husband. Jeannette Katzir, on of their daughters is the author. But it is a story of family--a family that, today, right now, continues to be affected in small and large ways by what happened so many years ago.

Or is it?

For those of us who are children of that war, there are many who can share familial "results" from their parents living during the war. How much more, then, can the effect of those who were actually there during that war be upon the children of those children?
Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila

When I was young and, for some reason, asked about our heritage (German on both sides), I can remember that my mother would respond in only one way--we are Americans.

And when Jeannette, her Father, and other siblings traveled to Germany, they often heard from those who lived there that the places they were asking directions to--for instance, the death camp--did not exist.

It is Shame that brings those answers...shame at what was done to men, women and children there in those camps... Readers cannot help but feel this shame, once again, as Katzir shares the story of her parents. Both children bravely faced what they had to do and, in the end, escaped to a better life. Praise God for that.

At the same time, Katzar's family story, of broken birds, may very well be illustrative to the families of many in America, who are members of dysfunctional families. I say this not to detract from the hardships and very real and open account of Katzir's memoir, but to strengthen its universality to the larger American families who have been affected by their past. Unfortunately, by revealing the jealousy, greed, and selfishness in such detail that occurred upon the death of Channa, the drama among the remaining family to a great extent overpowers the parents' story.
Were the actions taken by the children of the Poltzer family due to the lives of their parents? Or are they typical of children in America who are greedy and the desire for money and an easy life is expected rather than earned? Mainly my reaction was that the two stories should never have been merged. I respect greatly what was researched and documented for Channa and Nathan. However, in my opinion, Sibling rivalry that requires money to reflect parents' love is not a new story.

Perhaps Honor Thy Mother and Father was the story I was expecting for those who made it through the Holocaust... Still, there is much to read in Broken Birds. Channa and Nathan's stories are indeed worth reading. And if you wish to find a book opening discussing what happens in families about money, upon the deaths of other family members, well, I have many stories of my own and other families I have known and didn't really find much different to offer here. I wish I could say that this was a memorable book. It was not. Please read other reviews on this book so that you may decide for yourself. Perhaps the sibing rivalry many of us have faced was too dominant for this reviewer.

Book Received
From Author

G. A. Bixler

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  1. Angelas' Ashes by Frank McCourt, was a book I felt told the same story many have lived here in America, just with a different twist, it happened in Ireland. I get the feeling G.A. Bixler feels the same about Broken Birds. Worth the reading, but the same story in many ways, just different settings. The sad truth is, that we have so many of the same stories to tell, in every country.

  2. Plsss make me a memoir about broken family