A Granddaughter’s Holocaust Quest
Haunted by her grandmother's Old World stories and larger-than-life persona, Andrea Simon undertook a spiritual search for her lost family. Her quest for truth gave tragic answers. Using newly translated archival records, she peeled back layers of clues to confront the mystery. This story of her momentous odyssey reveals the terrible fate of her kin.
From her grandmother's village of Volchin in Belarus, she followed the trail of the death march taken by the village Jews to the place of their slaughter in 1942. During the same period, in Brona Gora forest some 50,000 Jews were shot. Simon was in one of the first American groups to visit this little-publicized site.
Mass shootings of Jews, particularly in the Soviet Union, have not been addressed with the same focus given to concentration camp atrocities. Yet Simon's research reveals that Nazis killed nearly 50 percent of their Jewish victims by means other than gassing. Thus Simon fills a significant gap in Holocaust history by providing the most extensive report yet on the executions at Brona Gora and Volchin.
As she interweaves tragic narrative with evocative family anecdotes, Simon writes a story of life in czarist Russia and of her family's flight from pogroms and persecution. From a unique vantage Simon's memoir discloses her dogged genealogical search, the newly perceived Jewish history she uncovered, and the ramifications of the Holocaust in the postwar generation.