It gives me a great pleasure to report that the memoir of my grandmother Ella Vovsi “A Document of Holocaust Survival” was finally published and is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017USI2HM. Here is the story of this memoir.
Before the World War Two, my grandmother’s family lived in Dvinsk (now Daugavpils), the second largest city in Latvia, which at that time was part of the Soviet Union. On June 22, 1941, Hitler’s Germany attacked the Soviet Union, and within the next few days occupied most of the Baltic States, including Latvia. My grandmother spent almost four years in various ghettos and concentration camps, the last of them being the infamous death camp Stutthof in Poland. Death and destruction surrounded her every day throughout these years; she almost lost her life numerous times, but each time somehow managed to escape death due to luck or a miracle. She was a very strong person, both physically and mentally. Because of this she was able to survive and not to lose her sanity.
Right after the war, when the Soviet Union began to recover from the terrible destruction and the loss of about 20 million people, and the memories were still fresh, a Latvian Jewish journalist began to work on a book about Nazi atrocities. Having learned of my grandmother, he asked her to write about her experiences during the war, which she did. Although my grandmother was not a writer, reading it leaves a powerful and horrific impression. Unfortunately, very soon Soviet policies began to change, the anti-Semitic attitudes in the country began to increase, and the topic became unpopular. Because some Latvians had collaborated with the Nazis and actively participated in extermination of Jews, it was not a politically correct subject at the time. The project never materialized.
In 1989 my family moved to the United States and brought the manuscript here. My intention was to have it published to honor the memory of my grandmother, and because I did not want her story (and other similar stories of Holocaust survivors) to simply disappear. As with many other good intentions, it took much longer than expected, but finally the project came to a conclusion and the memoir is available to everybody at the link above.