Against all odds : Holocaust survivors and the successful lives they made in America


Helmreich, William B.

Holocaust survivors -- United States. Jews -- United States. Immigrants -- United States. Overlevenden. Holocaust. Judenvernichtung Uberlebender Holocaust. Overlevenden. USA


348 p.

Simon & Schuster

Publisher location:
New York

Accession number:

Box 113

25 cm. Beginnings of a new life -- The struggle to rebuild -- Making a living in America -- All for the children -- The social world of the survivor -- Reaching out -- Living with memories -- Overcoming tragedy. Includes bibliographical references (p. 280-332) and index. William B. Helmreich. Book


Call number:
LC: E184.J5; Dewey: 940.53/18/092273; B

ISBN: 0671669567; 9780671669560 LCCN: 92-19790

Work type:
Biography (bio)

Against All Odds is a landmark book - the first comprehensive look at the 140,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors who came to America and the lives they have made here. It is the story of how they learned to live and trust again. William Helmreich spent more than six years traveling the United States, listening to the personal stories of hundreds of survivors and examining more than 15,000 pages of data as well as new material from archives that have never before been available, to create this remarkable, groundbreaking work. What emerges is a picture that is sharply different from the stereotypical image of survivors as people who are chronically depressed, anxious, and fearful. Instead, we see that survivors constitute a surprisingly normal community. They have rich and varied lives, they are vital contributors to their communities, and their family and work patterns are stable. But they have forged a distinct identity for themselves as a result of what they have endured - an identity that influences how they look at life and how they behave. Helmreich writes of their experiences from their first arrival in this country: the mixed reactions they encountered from American Jews who were not always eager to receive them; their choices about where to live in America - many settled in major cities in the United States, while others chose rural communities in Vineland, New Jersey, and Petaluma, California; and their efforts in finding marriage partners with whom they felt comfortable - most often, other survivors. But this intimate, enlightening work also explores larger questions about prevailing over hardship and adversity: how people who have gone through such experiences pick up the threads of their lives; where they obtain the strength and spirit to go on; and, finally, what lessons the rest of us can learn about overcoming tragedy.