Tony Judt’s The Memory Chalet

The Memory Chalet Tony Judt. William Heinemann, London. 2010.

Rarely do such gems simply fall into your lap. Playful without being silly. The kind of book that leaves you smiling not merely at the end of each chapter, but often after a mere paragraph. Smiling because the words are so delightfully appropriate, so evocative , catapulting you not only into the author’s memories, but into your own. The details may differ, but the essence of memory lives, vivid, unforgotten and absolutely unforgettable.

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About the Book

On March 15, 1939, Helen Waldstein’s father snatched his stamped exit visa from a distracted clerk to escape from Prague with his wife and child. As the Nazis closed in on a war-torn Czechoslovakia, only letters from their extended family could reach Canada through the barriers of conflict. The Waldstein family received these letters as they made their lives on a southern Ontario farm, where they learned to be Canadian and forget their Jewish roots.

Helen Waldstein read these letters as an adult―this changed everything. As her past refused to keep silent, Helen followed the trail of the letters back to Europe, where she discovered living witnesses who could attest to the letters’ contents. She has here interwoven their stories and her own into a compelling narrative of suffering, survivor guilt, and overcoming intergenerational obstacles when exploring a traumatic past.