After Survival

Leon Zelman, Author
Leon Zelman, Author Holmes & Meier Publishers $25 (166p) ISBN 978-0-8419-1382-0
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
This gripping memoir by Zelman (b. 1928), a journalist and director of the Israel Department at the Austrian Travel Agency in Vienna, deals with both how he survived the Holocaust and how he carried on with life after the war in Vienna. After his father was shot by the Nazis, the author fled to Lodz from the Polish shtetl of Szczekociny with his mother and young brother, Shayek. Zelman vividly describes their struggle to survive in the ghetto, where his mother eventually starved to death. Zelman and Shayek were shipped to Auschwitz and later were evacuated to another camp, where Shayek perished. The book is most interesting, however, for what Zelman has to say about life in Austria after the war, when he decided to dedicate himself to the reestablishment of a Jewish community in Vienna. The author details how he became president of the Association of Jewish University Students and worked with the Jewish Welcome Service to encourage and help Jews who had fled Austria to return for a visit. Of particular interest is Zelman's account of how he came to recognize the virulent anti-Semitism that, he found, still exists in Austria, as well as his perspective on Kurt Waldheim, the former U.N. secretary-general whose conduct during the war came under attack when he ran for--and won--Austria's presidency. (Feb.)
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