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It was only later I realised it was a fantastic thing. Being in the band saved the Lasker girls, who thought every day that they would die when they were transferred to Belsen, where there was no music. The sisters were there for six months and survived until the liberation. We didn't quite believe it was ever going to happen, because we'd heard rumours that the camps would be blown up. We suddenly heard strange noises and then English voices — it was an unbelievable moment. Then came the realisation that we belonged nowhere.

He offered to drive the girls to Brussels — from where they eventually made it to England. It was very difficult to find these people, but he was very insistent. He was a very nice man and we were great friends afterwards. He was very modest, he never bragged about what he had done. I was absolutely crazy about this piece. It drove everybody mad. Topics Classical music. Judaism Religion news.


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Reuse this content. Most popular. My own grandparents, and my infant mother, arrived in Australia in They came in part of a "group resettlement". To this day I dislike calling them "migrants". It's not like they chose their path. They passed away when I was too young to want more, and now I have nothing but a ship manifest that surfaced on the web a few years back. I've always wondered if searching for my family history would take me anywhere meaningful, or if their history disappeared with them when they fled.

Baker makes me believe that there is something out there worth finding. I didn't buy this book. Or borrow it.

the life times and music of mark raphael Manual

But somehow it came into my possession, and I am glad that it did. The cover art does not do it justice. Ultimately, The Fiftieth Gate is well written, and incredibly well researched. It offers a warm narrative to an otherwise cold and dark timeline. Essential reading for anyone whose family rebuilt their lives after being branded only as 'refugees' or 'displaced persons'. The Fiftieth Gate: A Journey Through Memory is, at its core, historian Mark Raphael Baker's journey to record, contextualise, and understand his own family history: the Holocaust through the eyes of his parents, Polish Jews who survived it as children.

His process combined interviews with his parents with meticulous combing of Polish, German, Russian, and American records. He even returns his parents to Poland--to their childhood villages and to Auschwitz--to discover what memories these places will s The Fiftieth Gate: A Journey Through Memory is, at its core, historian Mark Raphael Baker's journey to record, contextualise, and understand his own family history: the Holocaust through the eyes of his parents, Polish Jews who survived it as children.

He even returns his parents to Poland--to their childhood villages and to Auschwitz--to discover what memories these places will shake loose. The results are as potent as might be expected, and Baker's book is a mixture of his parents' statements in interviews and in the field. He combines this with descriptions of what he has learned from documentary evidence of the period and with creative non-fiction to fill in gaps.

What emerges is a meditation not just on family history, but on much bigger questions, including the reliability of memory, the ownership of the past, the need for and nature of memorialisation, the "value" or even sacredness of place, and even on the past as a kind of a fetish in the anthropological sense of the word.

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Ultimately, what's at stake here is identity: Baker's own, that of his family, and of dor dorot , the generations to come. This quest for identity is thrown into sharp relief by the understanding reinforced by the book of just how perilously close the families and even their ethnic group came to annihilation.

The stakes for identity are much higher than just "finding oneself". Of course, the source material makes this an incredibly, horribly sad book. But it is Baker's contemplation of and reflection on his material that makes this book so fascinating and significant to me. As I joined Mark Baker on his journey through both history and memory, I felt countless emotions. The way in which he approaches piecing together his parent's story is truly one of a kind - a combination of documented evidence and personal experience.

At several points throughout the novel, I had to put the book down simply to contain myself; countless tears were shared whether from happiness, sadness, anger, or frustration. This novel was gorgeously written. While Baker struggled at several occ As I joined Mark Baker on his journey through both history and memory, I felt countless emotions. While Baker struggled at several occasions to find the right balance between researcher and son, the result of his efforts culminated in a sense of closure - for both himself, and his parents.

Interesting would be the most accurate word for me to describe this book.

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I liked the parents who never over-dramatised what happened to them and were a lot less interested in digging up the past than their son. Main hamartia? Being a HSC prescribed text which has led to its really low rating on Goodreads haha. Probably because I was reading too fast to get it all over and done with.

Historian Mark Baker writes about "all those of [his] generation, the sons and daughters of [Holocaust] survivors bear[ing] the wounds of unresolved guilt. Taking his vulnerable parents back to where their lives began, to where they suffered, to where they lost their families, to where they hid or were imprisoned, Baker combines the power of their Historian Mark Baker writes about "all those of [his] generation, the sons and daughters of [Holocaust] survivors bear[ing] the wounds of unresolved guilt. Taking his vulnerable parents back to where their lives began, to where they suffered, to where they lost their families, to where they hid or were imprisoned, Baker combines the power of their oral testimony with the strength of the meticulous historical evidence he uncovers.

And, not always, were the details the same. Thus, Baker asks "And what counted for more - the facts I assembled about my parents' past, or how they remembered it? The result is intense, for the family and for the reader, who is magnetised by the strength of what is uncovered. This twentieth anniversary edition of the memoir comes at a crucial time in Holocaust study, when we are facing the demise of the small number of survivors who are still alive and willing to educate the younger generation with what they witnessed.

The impact of Baker's parents' memories, substantiated by his documented research, stands against those today who deny the Holocaust. Only at the end of the text does Baker delve into fiction, when he poignantly imagines the last moments of his parents' families in the gas chambers. I initially questioned this inclusion, but accepted his note in the introduction in which he distinguishes the scene as "an act of empathy" and not "fabrication.

Because the narrative moved from parent to parent, from grandparents' fate to grandparents' fate, I was often confused and would have benefited from a quick glance at who was who. The text is a must read. It explores the atrocities of Baker's parents' histories, and also, importantly, reveals the palpable impact of their past on their children, the inherited trauma of the 2nd generation survivor. I picked this book up as a recommendation from one of my professors for a fun read. She was fully aware of my family connection to the period and thought I might enjoy this.

To begin with I found all the historical information aka. It was fun to read something so diverse. After about pages I became tired of reading what seemed like the same paragraphs over again. I really enjoyed the storytelli I picked this book up as a recommendation from one of my professors for a fun read.

I really enjoyed the storytelling aspect where there was direct dialogue and discussion between the characters and equally was captivated by the flashbacks and visits to old places and peoples. It felt as though I was dredging through pages of a nothingness stream of consciousness to get to the meat of the story. I would have enjoyed more characterisation and more of a rise and fall plot as it seemed that I couldn't really find any point's of tension.

I also became confused at times, finding that my mind wasn't able to fully keep up with what was going on. Overall, this was an ambivalent read.


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I loved aspects of the book and commend it's unique form but it wasn't one that I was dying to keep reading. I was touched many times by the personal stories of the characters and that was my only motivating factor to continue reading it I would recommend this for a historical read more than anything.

Some good ideas but overall really difficult to get through. This is a true tale of love, memory, the Holocaust and the present day. Mark Baker interviewed and videotaped his parents searching their particular memories of their separate lives in Poland during the Nazi terror.

Rafael Méndez

While his father Joe has vivid and traceable memories of being in the death camps, his mother, a five-year old at the time, is convinced her memories are as clear, though Baker. I liked this book once I This is a true tale of love, memory, the Holocaust and the present day. I liked this book once I was able to delineate who was speaking what memories.