Born in the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons camp, Aviva spent the first three years of her life among Holocaust survivors. Her earliest memory, which still haunts her today, was of a strange odor lingering over the camp, which people referred to as the smell of dead people.
Aviva brings her parents’ stories of their experiences during the Holocaust to life, creating a context for the unfolding of her story, one of her struggle with the fear and anxiety that dominated her thoughts, actions, and interactions throughout her life.
This constant state of worry affected her ability to eat, to interact with other children, and to concentrate in school. Knowing what her parents had suffered, she felt the need to protect and watch over them at all times. With no one to help her process her feelings, Aviva developed coping strategies to help numb her tangled emotions. By the time she was a teenager, she had turned to alcohol and drugs.
Her parents watched their only daughter slowly kill herself as her struggle with alcoholism continued for decades. After many years of attempts at recovery, the unrelenting support from her family and friends and a change in perception gave her the strength and commitment to recover. No longer tormented with the cravings of alcohol, she hopes her story will help others.
To her parents, Aviva says, “I’ll never forget to remember. That’s what you always said about life. You were my greatest teachers, and I’ll remember you every day.”