Tag Archives: American Dream

One family’s story of hope and triumph over evil

Resilience, by Judy Stone. MD. Mountainside MD Press. 384 pages. Trade paperback $17.95.

As the number of Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle, only a scant remnant remains to tell their stories and verify the facts. Scholars continue to explore the field, but testimony is so much richer than the results of research. Dr. Judy Stone, the daughter of survivors and, with this book, the voice for both the survivors of a large, extended Jewish-Hungarian family and their memories of those who perished, connects the past with the present in an inspired and chilling way. 

The time came when Judy Stone knew that it was up to her to convey the traumas of her elders, giving meaning to their perseverance and courage, remembering their trials and tribulations, and acknowledging that the dead can tell no tales: whether those who died in the nightmare of the Holocaust or those who survived it either speechless or simply mortal. In the latter case, the author needed to get their stories before it was too late.

It’s all here, the result of committed passion lifting the heavy weight of assumed responsibility.

This is one of the answers to the haunting question “who will tell our story?” that becomes more pressing every year.

Dr. Stone has a second motive for bringing her family’s Holocaust experiences, and the political backgrounds of those experiences, to the attention of readers. She sees, and hopes her readers will see, the parallels between what happened in Europe before and during the Holocaust years and what has been happening once again in Europe as well as in the U. S. and elsewhere. She fears the rise of nationalism and isolationism. She fears the vilification of the mainstream press and the proliferation of hate crimes. For her, the handwriting is on the wall – in blood! She is bringing us her family history, in context, so that such potential atrocities are recognized and snuffed out early so that the hideous mass crimes of the past will not be repeated.

Many aspects of this book are remarkable, among them the simple fact that there were so many survivors. The extended Ehrenfeld and Glattstein families suffered in almost every way one can imagine. They were imprisoned into forced labor inside of and outside of concentration camps, places whose names we know all to well. They were tortured. They suffered from malnutrition, exhaustion, and sheer barbarism. Among them were Judy’s mother and father. She writes of her parents’ siblings – her aunts and uncles. These people have stories now told because Judy drew the stories out, laboriously, and over a long period of time.

Listen to the names: Magdus (the author’s mother), Bözsi, Miklos, Klari, Kati, Pista, Miki (the author’s father), and Sanyi.

Judy Stone

These Hungarian Jews, some more religious than others but generally followers of traditional Jewish customs, established and maintained households, educated themselves, ran businesses, and watched – with growing concern – the beastly takeover of Hungary and the ascendance of Nazi rule. In late 1938, they heard about Kristallnacht and then later (after German occupation) saw it paralleled in their hometown of Sáránd. Soon after, everything was gone. Hungarian Jews were either in hiding or essentially prisoners of the Nazi empire.

Dr. Stone tells their stories, which include their various relationships, in an accessible, colorful style. We get to know them. We see them in full disorientation after the Allies turn the tide of war. We see them attempt (often with success) to rebuild their lives. We see most of them, each in his or her own time, decide that Hungary is not the place to continue their lives. We see them rebuilding lives and having families in the United States. We see their children, Dr. Stone’s generation, participate in the American Dream.

We witness family reunions, temporary returns to Hungary, and – ultimately – the deaths of the Holocaust generation: Dr. Stone’s mother, as well as her aunts, uncles, and cousins. We know there must have been instances and prolonged periods of trauma, yet their lives turned out to be the heartbeat of resilience.



About the author:

Dr. Judy Stone, with her longstanding interest in genealogy and oral history, has fulfilled the wishes of her mother by researching and writing her survivor family’s memoir.

Professionall, she is an infectious disease physician who is experienced in conducting clinical research. She is the author of Conducting Clinical Research: A Practical Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Study Coordinates, and Investigators, which a text used widely in medical education.

For twenty-five years, she ran a solo practice in rural Cumberland, Maryland, and she now cares for patients part-time as a locum tenens (substitute) physician. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, then completed medical school at the University of Maryland, residency at Rochester General Hospital (New York), and a fellowship at West Virginia University.

Dr. Stone is a Forbes Pharma and Healthcare contributor and former columnist for Scientific American.

This review appears in the September 2019 issues of Federation Star (Jewish Federation of Greater Naples), L’Chayim (Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties), and  The Jewish News (Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee).

Proceeds from this book are donated by Dr. Stone to organizations that promote Holocaust education.

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors and Books, Jewish Themes

Pop culture comedy classic flays Florida’s foibles

Coconut Cowboy, by Tim Dorsey. William Morrow. 336 pages. Hardback $25.99.

This is Serge Storms Series book 19, but who’s counting? Mr. Dorsey’s long-running series gets nuttier and nuttier, but who’s complaining? The author is probably not crazy, but he is certifiable, as is his main character Serge and Serge’s sidekick Coleman. Coleman never met an intoxicant he didn’t like. Serge is a bit more discriminating – or pretends to be. You want some laughs as the expense of Florida’s dignity? This your chance.  CoconutCowboyHC

Where is the American Dream? That is the question that Serge, sometimes underemployed as a serial killer, has set for himself and his comrade. He hopes to find it in the past; in particular, in the idealistic and idealized 1960s. How do you get to the past? You get off the highways and get onto the back roads that take you through small town America. How do you make this trip? Just like the “Easy Rider” searchers – on motorbikes. In this case, a motorbike with a sidecar.

Mr. Dorsey pays exquisite, zany, and yet sincere homage to the American counterculture classic film, with Serge casting himself and Coleman as the film’s Captain America and Billy. What they find in the small towns they sample is corruption. And because Serge and his creator are obsessive Floridaphiles, they find a ton of that small town corruption in the novel’s major creation – Wobbly, Florida. Wobbly is at once the exemplary American small town, though not a positive example, and the quintessence of Mr. Dorsey’s rural Florida.

What’s going on? Well, the first homes in a new housing development are disappearing into sinkholes attributed to subterranean aquifer pumping gone wild. Engineering reports and insurance issues and investigations of wrongdoing reach the highest circles – which in a small town are not very high. It’s all about who pays off whom to get away with what.

Tim Dorsey

Tim Dorsey

Money accumulated for that special kind of laundering that is illegal is found buried. Narcotics have brought the money into Wobbly, but how is it going to get out? And in whose pockets?

The city leaders, notably the mayor, have managed a narrow land annexation that has been put to good economic use as a speed trap. But whose economy has been enhanced? There are no reliable financial accounts or reporting procedures. There are no audits when nothing is available to audit. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the February 3, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the February 4 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlottte, Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter, and Palm Beach/West Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Coconut Cowboy which also includes signing events.

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors and Books, Florida Authors