Miracle Child: The Journey of a Young Holocaust Survivor

Miracle Child: The Journey of a Young Holocaust Survivor

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Anita Epstein with Noel Epstein
with a foreword by Michael Berenbaum

Series: The Holocaust: History and Literature, Ethics and Philosophy
ISBN: 9781618118585 (hardback) / 9781618118592 (paperback)
Pages: 142 pp.; 14 illus.
Publication Date: April 2018

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This memoir is about a Jewish baby born in the Krakow ghetto in November 1942, three years after Hitler conquered Poland, and, remarkably, escaping death—one of a mere one half of one percent of Jewish children in Poland who survived during the Nazi era. Her life was saved because her parents hid her with a Catholic family. Just as remarkably, her mother, still alive after suffering terribly through four of Hitler’s camps, traveled for weeks back to Poland and found her again. The book also depicts the author’s postwar challenges in Germany and America.

Anita Epstein, among the world's younger Holocaust survivors, came to America at seven years old and, in her teens, auditioned twice for the film role of Anne Frank. She later became a lobbyist for education and trade issues. She worries a great deal about what will happen when the last Holocaust survivors, like her, are gone.

Noel Epstein, former Education Editor of The Washington Post, spent more than forty years as a journalist with the Post, the Wall Street Journal and as an independent consultant. He is the editor of Who’s In Charge Here? The Tangled Web of School Governance and Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2004) and author of Language, Ethnicity, and the Schools (Institute for Educational Leadership, George Washington University, 1977), which helped shape U.S. bilingual education policy.

Anita Epstein was born three years into the Holocaust and was hidden while her mother survived four of Hitler’s camps. Remarkably, amid the chaos of post-war Europe, her mother found her again—one breathtaking part of a dramatic life that contains many lessons for us all.
— Henry Waxman, former twenty-term member of Congress
As witnesses to the Holocaust inevitably dwindle, Anita Epstein’s moving memoir—about the worst of humanity, and the best—becomes more vital to read, especially for the young. She tells of her parents’ courage in smuggling her out of the Krakow ghetto, of how her mother, incredibly, found her after the war, and of the postwar problems they encountered. This remarkable book also reminds us of the courage of families who risked their lives by hiding Jewish children—and the courage of child survivors like Anita to remake their lives in other lands, oft en with lifelong, painful memories.
— Stuart E. Eizenstat, former White House aide and negotiator of Holocaust compensation
From Krakow’s ghetto to Washington’s Capitol Hill—a fascinating story of a child who miraculously survived the Holocaust to make the most of her life. It is gracefully narrated against a rich background of not commonly known historical facts and sociological conditions. Th e book is especially recommended for schools and academic courses in today’s world, where one billion inhabitants do not know what the Holocaust was and where about half of them express anti-Semitic views.
— Henryk Grynberg, Holocaust survivor, actor, and award-winning author of over thirty books

Table of Contents 

Foreword by Michael Berenbaum

Introduction: Before It’s Too Late           

Part I: Origins
Chapter 1: In the Shadow of the Shoah         
Chapter 2: Hotter Hells
Chapter 3: “Don’t Let Her Take Me!”

Part II: Closed Doors
Chapter 4: New People, Old Problems
Chapter 5: Living With the Enemy
Chapter 6: In Search of Home

Part III: New World
Chapter 7: Becoming an American
Chapter 8: Falling for a Litvak
Chapter 9: Debts
Chapter 10: New York City Crisis and Beyond