About the Book
With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War. Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated. Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.
This is one of those historical fiction books that you can just pick up and get lost in. It’s a tough subject matter, but it’s so poignantly beautiful. And while there are many books that feature the horrors of the Holocaust as it occurred, not many take on the aspect of the aftereffects of dealing with this horror. Yet Ain takes us there and highlights the just how difficult it is to not only adjust to life after war, but to also adjust to a new country after war.
There is so much that is filled into such a short book and Ain did a wonderful job at juggling all of the different aspects of this story. There are secrets, prejudice, topics of immigration, and much more that these characters are forced to deal with. It’s an oftentimes brutal world, yet the Lubinski’s still have each other.
2020 seems to be the year of stories on the Holocaust, and The Takeaway Men will definitely stand out amongst all of these new titles for the sheer uniqueness of it. Each of the characters are unique in their own right and they’ve all gone through something that has changed them as a person. And that’s what this story is about, people and the endurance we have when we choose to live.
About the Author
Meryl’s articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, Newsday and other publications. The Takeaway Men (August 2020) is her debut novel. In 2014, she co-authored the award-winning book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016, wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal. She is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on television, radio, and podcasts. She is a career educator and is proud to be both a teacher and student of history. She has also worked as a school administrator.
The Takeaway Men is the result of her life-long quest to learn more about the Holocaust, a thirst that was first triggered by reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the sixth grade. While teaching high school history, she introduced her students to the study of the Holocaust. At the same time, she also developed an enduring fascination with teaching about and researching the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. An interview with Robert Meeropol, the younger son of the Rosenbergs, is featured in her book, The Living Memories Project. The book also includes an interview with Holocaust survivor, Boris Chartan, the founder of the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, New York.
Meryl holds a BA from Queens College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She is a lifetime member of Hadassah and an active supporter of UJA-Federation of New York. She lives in New York with her husband, Stewart. They have three married sons and six grandchildren.
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