Making and Breaking Family Ties In Once We Were Home by Jennifer Rosner

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A Must Read…

Many of us know there were Jewish children whose parents tried to save them by sending them to live with non-Jews during World War ll. Most of those Jewish parents perished in the war and there were efforts by special interest groups to retrieve, reclaim and re-home those Jewish children, taking them from those temporary homes and those who cared for them and with whom they developed bonds during the war. With no living parents or relatives to return to, these children were without choice and brought to live with other Jews, often in Israel.

Once We Were Home is the story of several Jewish children, their journeys and questions surrounding their identities. Siblings Ana and Oskar have deeply conflicting feelings about leaving the Polish family they lived with. Roger grew up in a monastery and although he has a living Jewish relative, he is being protected by the church. Renata has questions for her mother about her past and their quick departure from Germany. Based on true accounts, this book addresses what it means to be home and a family. It brings to attention the idea of intention; were those people taking children away from homes they spent the war living in and bringing them back into the Jewish community, acting with good intention? Did they consider the feelings of the children? What if the adoptive family was the only family they could recall? And who takes responsibility for all the suffering?

Displaced children are unfortunately not a thing of the past, making this heartbreaking yet uplifting book timely and thought provoking. Exhibited through her novels, author Jennifer Rosner is a deep thinker, a thorough researcher, and an exquisite writer with an unbiased approach to the complex issues she tackles in her novels. I highly recommend Once We Were Home.

Jennifer Rosner

About the Author

Jennifer Rosner is the author of the novels ONCE WE WERE HOME and THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS, a Massachusetts Fiction Honors Book and National Jewish Book Award finalist in the categories of debut fiction and book club. She is also author of the memoir IF A TREE FALLS: A FAMILY’S QUEST TO HEAR AND BE HEARD, and the children’s book, THE MITTEN STRING, a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable. Jennifer’s writing has appeared in the New York TimesThe Massachusetts ReviewThe Forward, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, Jennifer has taught philosophy. She earned her B.A. from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her family.

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