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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:122
  • eBook ISBN:9781935232810

Christian by Disguise

A Story of Survival

by Erna Kamerman Perry

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Overview
For nearly all of the sixty-odd years since the end of World War II, I hardly mentioned the Holocaust or my experiences in it. And yet, this period covered the first ten years of my life and has had a dramatic and traumatic effect on me. Life kept me busy and I buried the memory of that time fairly deep. My mother, my uncle, friends and acquaintances familiar with my past—or those who shared in it—occasionally would remark on an episode. For the most part, however, we were mute on the subject. Neither my husband nor my children knew much about it, just a single event mentioned in passing and made to sound irrelevant. But years have passed and those who have experienced the Holocaust are disappearing. Death is no longer something far on the horizon but a frequent visitor to many around me. And so, it seems that I must take the chance of telling my story, a story that was a part of the horror my people experienced. I have no illusions that another thread in the weave of the narratives about the Holocaust will make any difference: the deniers of it will keep denying, the haters will keep hating, genocides will keep occurring. I only want my children, my (few) relatives, my friends, and those readers interested in the historical horrors of the twentieth century to know that once there was a little girl who, through no fault of her own, had to lie and pretend so she could live to see another day.
Description
For nearly all of the sixty-odd years since the end of World War II, I hardly mentioned the Holocaust or my experiences in it. And yet, this period covered the first ten years of my life and has had a dramatic and traumatic effect on me. Life kept me busy and I buried the memory of that time fairly deep. My mother, my uncle, friends and acquaintances familiar with my past—or those who shared in it—occasionally would remark on an episode. For the most part, however, we were mute on the subject. Neither my husband nor my children knew much about it, just a single event mentioned in passing and made to sound irrelevant. But years have passed and those who have experienced the Holocaust are disappearing. Death is no longer something far on the horizon but a frequent visitor to many around me. And so, it seems that I must take the chance of telling my story, a story that was a part of the horror my people experienced. I have no illusions that another thread in the weave of the narratives about the Holocaust will make any difference: the deniers of it will keep denying, the haters will keep hating, genocides will keep occurring. I only want my children, my (few) relatives, my friends, and those readers interested in the historical horrors of the twentieth century to know that once there was a little girl who, through no fault of her own, had to lie and pretend so she could live to see another day.
About the author
My life in the United States was much less dramatic than my past life had been. We were sent to Detroit, at that time a lively metropolis, where I graduated from Central High School, an overwhelmingly Jewish school. I received a scholarship to Wayne State University where I majored in Romance languages, ultimately receiving a Master's Degree (I started work on a Ph.D, but the birth of my two children interfered in this endeavor). In Freshman English I met my future husband who eventually became a professor of sociology and political science. His position took us to Cleveland, Ohio, where I taught part time and where the two of us began writing college textbooks used in the Social Sciences—we have produced thirteen editions of one book, and a number of other texts with shorter lives. We have been extremely lucky in that our children have become productive people who have given us three wonderful grandchildren. To date, our health has allowed us to lead active lives in very pleasant surroundings. But the memories of my childhood would not be still.
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