Where 9/11 Ghosts Meet The Grandchildren Of Shoah Survivors

This interview was first published in The Times of Israel.

New York-based essayist and author Thane Rosenbaum’s Holocaust survivor parents died when he was 19, without having told him about their experiences. “My parents never said a word to me, not one word. That is not uncommon. I knew we were Jewish, but I didn’t know a thing. Nothing. Less than nothing. I found out everything after they died,” he told The Times of Israel by phone from his home in Manhattan.

His new book, “The Stranger Within Sarah Stein,” is Rosenbaum’s first foray into young adult literature, following the publication of his second generation Holocaust survivor trilogy — the short story collection “Elijah Visible,” and the novels “Second Hand Smoke” and “The Golems of Gotham.”

The 52-year-old Rosenbaum is not only a preeminent literary voice of second generation survivors, but also the John Whelan Distinguished Lecturer in Law at Fordham Law School, where he teaches courses on human rights, legal humanities and law and literature. In addition, Rosenbaum directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society at Fordham and moderates an annual series of discussions on Jewish culture and politics at the 92nd Street Y.

 “The Stranger Within Sarah Stein” (Texas Tech University Press, 160 pages) tells the story of a 12-year-old Jewish girl whose parents’ divorce causes her to take on a split identity. As she shuttles back and forth by bike across the Brooklyn Bridge between her famous painter father’s Tribeca loft and her candy entrepreneur and social climber mother’s Brooklyn apartment, she finds herself taking on too much adult responsibility while losing sense of who she really is. It takes the help of a ghost of 9/11, and her uncovering the secrets of her Holocaust survivor grandmother’s life, to make Sarah Stein whole again. 

Young Adult fiction is a new genre for you. What made you decide to write for an adolescent audience?

Click here to read the interview.

© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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