"Leaving Tomorrow" is a great story of courage and resilience. This historical novel takes into account many themes and true stories that were in your prior book..."How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives..."
I found "Leaving Tomorrow" a contemporary story not just of Rebecca, a young woman who survived the Holocaust but lost her family and friends, but a universal story of loss and beginning again. Today, years after World War II and the Holocaust, these are themes that affect everyone of every age. In the times we live, everyone suffers loss, in addition to those incurred from war and trauma. Jobs, relationships, income, and disappointments have been felt by everyone at various times. In our current times we are all familiar with other countries and people torn apart by war and loss.
"Leaving Tomorrow" is full of empathy and hope for looking forward, regardless of one's individual circumstances or where one lives.
Your book also gracefully weaves much of the history and research that you had done previously for "How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives." I went back to reread your monograph on Truman..."Was Truman's Missouri the cradle of the State of Israel." Including the role of Truman in the establishment of the State of Israel provides context to many of the details of Rebecca's journey.
For the next generation learning about the Holocaust and the relationship of Israel in the lives of the survivors, this beautifully written book poignantly addresses loss, recovery, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. I love your writing, storytelling, and empathy for those who have suffered irreplaceable losses and started over. It falls under the heading of "courage" and never giving up. Reading it from cover to cover in 2 sittings was a delightful treat as I loved returning to your beautiful writing.
Similar to some of the endorsements in the front of the book, I found I couldn't put it down. Of course, there's no greater endorsement than Elie Wiesel. What an honor. I can't wait to read what you write next!
The Book Leaving Tomorrow is a novel. In other words, it is a tale conceived by the author about people and events brought to life from her imagination. However, the places and historical events against which her novel takes place, described vividly by the author, are entirely authentic.
Françoise Ouzan is a renowned historian and expert in the field of Jewish experience during and after the Second World War. She has studied and written widely about the Holocaust, antisemitism, and American Jewry, all of which feature in the experiences of her heroine, Rebecca Samuelson.
Leaving Tomorrow takes place entirely in the 1940s. We first meet Rebecca in 1945. Recently liberated from the Bergen-Belsen camp, burned to the ground, she is on a train that is returning her back to Poland. The policy of the allied authorities immediately after the war was to repatriate as many ex-prisoners as possible back to their country of origin. What follows for Rebecca mirrors the experience of thousands of Jews who managed to survive in Nazi-dominated Europe and live on after the war.
In Poland, on top of all she has endured, Rebecca is traumatized by the animosity she finds in her hometown, especially from the Polish family that has taken over her family house. She has the door slammed in her face as someone calls out, “Have the Jews risen from their graves?”
What follows is worse. Rebecca is in the house adjacent to a neighbor, the Singers, when a crowd gathers with people shouting “Those Jews have locked up a Christian child in their basement.” Stones are flung at the house as the crowd screams the ancient blood libel (“they drank the blood of Christian children”). Rebecca barely manages to escape and learns later of the Kielce pogrom—one of more than 20 in Poland in 1945—when 42 Jews were slaughtered.