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“Discovering Twins”- Author searches through her maternal side to find a history of twins but learns something shocking! Interviewed by Sherri Rosen

Sherri: How have all the secrets your mother kept affected your life? 

Stella: I, too, have a tendency to keep secrets. I’ll keep information I know, and plans I make, to myself, rather than sharing them. After finishing my book, I was seriously tempted with just keeping it to myself, afraid of the reaction it might cause. But that is actually a selfish fear that I had to get over. I now weight whether something I know, or plan to do, is also something I need to share with others rather than keeping it all hidden inside. I have to very consciously work hard to always be truthful. My mother struggled with telling the truth, a fact that I became aware of when I was very little. I’ve also watched my siblings struggle with honesty and secrecy.

Sherri: Do you have children? If you do, have you shared this story with them? How has it affected them?

Stella: I have three children, now all adults, and I have always shared with them their ancestral background. However, not in the same way, and not with the same detail as what I write about and describe in my book, as before I began the research for my book, even I wasn’t aware of the depth of the truth. I believe that my children are all kinder, more empathic, richer people for knowing their family background.

Sherri: Anything you would like to share with the public about family, about the Holocaust?

Stella: Every family has its secrets. Every family has its tragedies, and every family has its joys. My mother mourned the fact that in modern times, families often split apart, develop differences and hold grudges. She commented that when the war was over, survivors dedicated their lives to finding other survivors and how sad it was today that people have such a lax attitude towards caring for their families. Yes, it’s true that there are often very real issues, challenges and clashes that happen in families, but, in the end, they are our deepest connection to anything else on the planet, and when a family member is gone, a part of our own selves is gone as well.

As regards the Holocaust, we are now 76 years past it and the greatest danger is its fading into history, its fading into data, numbers and statistics. I’ve read many books on the Holocaust, and biographical non-fiction books as well. They were of immense importance, but made for dry reading. One of the reasons I chose to write my book in a fictionalized form was to make it more accessible, more readable, more relatable. The Holocaust must be part of every country’s educational curricula. I also believe that people become de-sensitized if the Holocaust is presented, as it usually is, in an aggressive, angry, loud manner. It’s hard to explain what I’m driving at, but if someone yells something at you, you immediately take a defensive stance, but if someone is gentle, and explains even a terrible thing with love and consideration, you’ll embrace it, understand it, and remember it. I hope that my book causes people to reflect on the Holocaust in a more human, less academic, way.

Sherri: Did you grow up with Anti-Semitism?
Stella: No, not in the least; the exact opposite. As written about in one of my chapters, our small town was a melting pot of cultures, all of which were introduced to me at a same and equal level, you might say. I noticed anti-French sentiment more than anything else. But that was not uncommon in Canada in the 1970’s due to significant national tension between Quebec and Western Canada at that time.
Sherri: Would you say that this book is also about racism, a particularly relevant topic today?
Stella: You know, a better word that I relate to over racism is humanism (any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate). The human race is like the sky—one cohesive element, represented by many colours, many variations. We are all actually just one race. Beyond that, we find ourselves part of various ethnicities based on existing or past geographic locations.
The Germans hated the Jews not because of their religion, but because of their ethnicity. They felt threatened by them, felt that Jews worldwide were plotting against them, that the Jews were infiltrating the world in an effort to rule it, and so, were driven to annihilate them. Thus is the sadly never-ending story of history and war – one group hates another, is jealous of another, is afraid of, or prejudiced against another, or simply wants what another group has. It is an old saying that people are afraid of what they do not know and what they do not understand. Racism also involves a sense of “well, if I don’t go after them, they’ll come after me”. 
Culture is a very different consideration. And cultures are just that—different! Ignorance, lack of awareness, and lack of education drive the fear that accompanies the non-acceptance of other cultures, flaming the rage that we call racism. My book focuses on family and children, the forced suffering of family and children. It strips away culture, race, and prejudice and simply shows the horrible results of what humans can do to one another for no cause. A child is not a threat. Educating a child into a adult is an opportunity for good….or…..the opposite of good.
Sherri: After you completed this book, how did it change you?  

Stella: That’s a very interesting question. The writing of my book helped me in many ways. Most importantly, I became an even more sympathetic person. I’m a mom and a grandma, so have lots of love and patience to give, but over the years, hard challenges in life caused me to I’d lose the edge on that patience. Facing the horrible facts of my family’s background actually helped me let go of any difficulties in my past as, in comparison, I’ve had a privileged, easy life. I don’t have to worry about a superior power entering into my life, or that of my family, and stealing our lives from us; such a sharp contrast to my family’s past!  As a result, I’m so patient with others, try to see life from their perspective, respect people’s differences, and allow others to always be themselves.

Sherri: This is a legacy you are leaving to your family, to the world. What do you hope it accomplishes?

Stella: This is a great question and one I am very happy to answer! At first, I was compelled to simply get my family’s story down, to preserve it for future generations. As I researched, and learned more and more about the events happening during those times and understood the impact those events had on my mother’s entire life, I knew that the story was powerful enough to share with others. There are many books about those times, but that doesn’t mean the stories should end, or that there isn’t room for a new, untold story. You may think you already know everything about an event, but then someone presents it in a different light, and your understanding of it deepens. Younger people, in particular, need to know the pure evil that was the Holocaust. The only way we can change the views and opinions of the world are through education and awareness. One of the editors who assisted with the book mentioned that it should be standard reading in all high schools!

Sherri: Were some of your family members who were killed in the Holocaust also accomplished musicians, like yourself?
Stella: Sadly, I have no idea. It is very likely that there were. I often imagine the potential talent, skill, intelligence, and unfulfilled achievement that humanity lost as a result of the millions of lives taken at that time.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 at 1:05 pm and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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