Edith Mayer Cord
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Sachbuch / Biographien, Autobiographien
Finding Edith: Surviving the Holocaust in Plain Sight is the coming-of-age story of a young Jewish girl chased in Europe during World War II. Like a great adventure story, the book describes the childhood and adolescence of a Viennese girl growing up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, World War II, and the religious persecution of Jews throughout Europe. Edith was hunted in Western Europe and Vichy France, where she was hidden in plain sight, constantly afraid of discovery and denunciation. Forced to keep every thought to herself, Edith developed an intense inner life. After spending years running and eventually hiding alone, she was smuggled into Switzerland. Deprived of schooling, Edith worked at various jobs until the end of the war when she was able to rejoin her mother, who had managed to survive in France.
After the war, the truth about the death camps and the mass murder on an industrial scale became fully known. Edith faced the trauma of Germany’s depravity, the murder of her father and older brother in Auschwitz, her mother’s irrational behavior, and the extreme poverty of the postwar years. She had to make a living but also desperately wanted to catch up on her education. What followed were seven years of struggle, intense study, and hard work until finally, against considerable odds, Edith earned the Baccalauréat in 1949 and the Licence ès Lettres from the University of Toulouse in 1952 before coming to the United States. In America, Edith started at the bottom like all immigrants and eventually became a professor and later a financial advisor and broker. Since her retirement, Edith dedicates her time to publicly speaking about her experiences and the lessons from her life.
<p><i>“Finding Edith</i> is a painful book to read—and it should be. In great detail and with unequaled precision, Edith Mayer Cord describes her experience hiding in German-occupied and German-Allied so-called Vichy France as a young girl, and her unrelenting efforts to both get an education and avoid capture. One marvels at her discipline and the courage born of necessity. One also is horrified by the many who exploited her dire situation and impressed by the few who came to her aid. She is brutally honest about her relationship with her difficult mother, who was shattered by the loss of her husband and her son, and by her conditions of dire poverty. One cannot fail to be impressed by the journey that Edith traveled to find herself and create a productive life after so much suffering. I know of few books as candid in explaining the price that was paid for survival.”</p>
World War II, Jewish, education, memoir, WWII, Europe, France, Holocaust, European, resilience, persecution, World War 2, modern Jewish history, Judaism, autobiography, WW2, coming of age, hidden child