After Long Silence

After Long Silence

A Memoir

Book - 2000
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"To this day, I don't even know what my mother's real name is."

Helen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic. It wasn't until she was an adult, practicing law in Boston, that she discovered her parents were Jewish--Holocaust survivors living invented lives. Not even their names were their own. In this powerful memoir, Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her family in a bond of silence for more than four decades, recounting with heartbreaking clarity a remarkable tale of survival, as vivid as fiction but with the resonance of truth.

Driven to uncover their roots, Fremont and her sister pieced together an astonishing story: of Siberian Gulags and Italian royalty, of concentration camps and buried lives. After Long Silence is about the devastating price of hiding the truth; about families; about the steps we take, foolish or wise, to protect ourselves and our loved ones. No one who reads this book can be unmoved, or fail to understand the seductive, damaging power of secrets.


What Fremont and her sister discover is an astonishing story: one of Siberian gulags and Italian royalty, of concentration camps and buried lives. AFTER LONG SILENCE is about the devastating price of hiding the truth; about families; about the steps we take, foolish or wise, to protect ourselves and our loved ones. No one who reads this book can be unmoved, or fail to understand the seductive, damaging power of secrets. -->
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Dell Pub., 2000.
ISBN: 9780385333702
0385333706
Characteristics: 352 p. ; 21 cm.

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Manfredchensenjen
Feb 06, 2013

The author's parents outsmarted the Russians and Nazis. Her mother worked as a translator. She studied in Rome before the War and worked for the Italian military in Lvov, Poland, because she was trilingual in Polish, German and Italian. Her fiance worked in the hospital because he had been in medical school. He criticized the Russians -- Russia and Germany had divided Poland, and Lvov is in Eastern Poland, and later the Nazis drive the Russians out -- and was sent to prison in Siberia. He became trilingual in Polish, German and Russian. He helped a Polish smuggler in the prison, who later smuggled him from Poland to Italy, after he escapes from prison in Siberia. The author's mother's employer helped smuggle her into Italy. They are caught, but claim they fell in love and are running away together, so the Italian soldiers let them go. Finally, after a perils-of-Pauline ten years' engagement, they were united in Rome, having had all their extended families rounded up and murdered in Auschwitz. Then they learn English. The author's mother actually helps the people who allowed her to learn Italian, her sister and brother-in-law, who were unemployed when the Americans took Rome -- even though her brother-in-law was no more a fascist than she had been an orthodox Jew. She gets work as a translator for the Americans in Rome. Eventually the author's parents are allowed to emigrate to America, and the author's father gets his medical license, and the author and her sister are brought up Catholic. Her parents take them to church every Sunday because they are determined that their children will not be in danger. And finally, the author, after uncovering all this family history her parents had hidden from her, has to tell her parents a secret of her own, that she is vulnerable to hate groups.

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