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13 Stradomska Street: A Memoir of Exile and Return

Ratings:
192 pages3 hours

Summary

"Potok is blind but he makes us see not only the pre-World War Two landscape from which he and his family fled, but also how and why and at what price." Jay Neugeboren, author of "Max Baer and the Star of David" and "Imagining Robert"

"Potok explores the long reach of both his family's 1939 escape from Poland and his own blindness in this thoughtful and elegant memoir." Elinor Langer, author of "Josephine Herbst" and "A Hundred Little Hitlers"

When Andrew Potok was eight he fled with his family from Warsaw, leaving home and business to escape the invading Nazis. The family made it to American, but Andrew’s memories of violence, Jew hatred, and betrayal--including that of his father--erupted into nightmares and eventually formed the backdrop of his rich, though at times turbulent, life as an artist and writer.

When, late in Andrew's life, a Polish lawyer offers to help him reclaim property in Krakow that was wrongfully inherited by a relative, he and his wife revisit Poland, with its still-virulent anti-Semitism. The visit awakens long-dormant memories and provokes deep reflections on the nature of evil. The ongoing lawsuit becomes emblematic of the book’s central theme: There can be no closure for survivors of the Holocaust--no justice for either victims or perpetrators, no compensation, and no forgiveness.

Andrew Potok was a successful visual artist until he went blind in his forties. He then turned to writing and published "Ordinary Daylight, Portrait of An Artist Going Blind," "My Life With Goya," and "A Matter of Dignity." He lives in Vermont.

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