Ingrid Epstein Elefant survived the Holocaust in Germany through the kindness and generosity of non-Jews, many of whom put their own lives at risk by helping her and her mother. From a young child shielded by her parents and others from the horror going on around her, and not understanding the painful things happening to her family, Ingrid becomes a young woman struggling to adjust to a new country, and then a mature woman desperately trying to establish her own identity. The entire story is a testament to human kindness and the ability of one person to gain acceptance and to create a place for herself in a welcoming community. Ingrid's writing speaks directly to the reader's emotions, and the last part of her memoir focuses on the deep spiritual quality which suffuses and animates her life.
Marim Charry, Rabbi
Told with the kind of confidence and grace that comes only from years of searing self-scrutiny, A Time of Silence is Ingrid Epstein Elefant's moving account of her life-long search to find and live an authentic identity.
Born in Nazi Germany to a Catholic father and Jewish mother, Ingrid spent her early childhood at the edges of war, fearful of the nightly bombing raids and zealously protective of her dearest friend, her doll Erika. Raised as a Catholic and hidden for a time by her Catholic grandparents after her father had been drafted and her mother was forced into hiding, Ingrid found herself, after the war, enveloped by her mother's Jewish family in America, miming the motions of newly learned Jewish ritual. She felt herself a fraud, a German Catholic displaced from her home, playacting the expected roles given to her by a new and foreign family. Here is the heart of Ingrid's story - a story that stretches out over decades of learning to determine for herself who she is, and of finding a way to understand the decisions her parents had made for her in the past. It is a story of love and fear, of loss and acceptance, and above all, of the healing power of narrative to help a special kind of Holocaust survivor find both self-knowledge and peace.
Eve Keller, Professor
Department of English
About Ingrid Epstein Elefant
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Published March 14, 2011
Biographies & Memoirs.