The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich

The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich On the evening of February Sonia Reich Howard Reich s mother packed some clothes into two brown shopping bags put on her gray winter coat locked the door to her home in Skokie Illinois

  • Title: The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich
  • Author: Howard Reich
  • ISBN: 9781586483623
  • Page: 318
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On the evening of February 15, 2001, Sonia Reich, Howard Reich s mother, packed some clothes into two brown shopping bags, put on her gray winter coat, locked the door to her home in Skokie, Illinois and fled Someone was trying to kill her, to put a bullet in my head, Sonia told anyone who would listen Polish and Jewish, Sonia Reich had survived the Holocaust by stayinOn the evening of February 15, 2001, Sonia Reich, Howard Reich s mother, packed some clothes into two brown shopping bags, put on her gray winter coat, locked the door to her home in Skokie, Illinois and fled Someone was trying to kill her, to put a bullet in my head, Sonia told anyone who would listen Polish and Jewish, Sonia Reich had survived the Holocaust by staying always on the run She and Howard s father, Robert, also a Holocaust survivor, had fled to America, moved to Chicago, and raised their young son to tell no one that they were Jewish It was only after moving to Skokie, a town filled with Holocaust survivors, that his family would live as Jews Still, his parents told Howard almost nothing about their past The First and Final Nightmare is Reich s moving and bittersweet memoir of growing up in Skokie, discovering an odd and personal American freedom in jazz, and his riveting, revealing investigation into his family s past and the nature of his mother s illness, called late onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder This is a poignant story of a mother and a son, a haunted past, and the irony of what may happen when that often repeated admonition to never forget becomes a curse.

    One thought on “The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich”

    1. This is a powerful, heartbreaking read. It shed light on an aspect and after effects of the Holocaust that I knew nothing about. I strongly recommend reading it so that we not only learn more about PTSD and how it likely impacts children of war both then and now - but so we truly never forget what happened in the Holocaust.

    2. I've read a lot about the Shoah but this was new territory for me. The author's mother had a mental breakdown when she was older based on her early life trying to survive the horrors of that time. All of that horror comes back to her in the form of late-onset PTSD. It's a gut wrenching story that shows that the pain of trauma never really leaves.

    3. For many years, Sonia Reich tries to repress the haunting memories she has had since the age of eight when her family home in Poland was taken over by the Soviets and later when her family was relocated to a Jewish ghetto. After her family was split up, Sonia ran and hid from the Nazis while continually faced with their endless death threats, sporadic sources of food, and rare shelter from the traditionally cold and snowy winter and other year round weather conditions. Witnessing countless, sens [...]

    4. This must have been an incredibly difficult book for the author to write, but it is extremely compelling - I read it straight through in one day.Reich points out that American awareness of the Holocaust tends to be very focused on the concentration camps, but there were many other Jews in Europe who died (or survived) through equally horrendous circumstances who were victims in other ways, in mass killings such as at Babi Yar. This is the story, as best as he was able to piece together, of his m [...]

    5. A report of a mother's horror running and hiding as a child during WWII. Howard Reich's mother is suffering dementia, sure people are out to get her. Howard knows his parents are holocaust survivors, but their stories are never talked about. Howard goes in search of his mother's stories, talking to relatives who were also survivors, and travels to Poland to research. He complies his research and shares the stories with us. This is told very factually, the horrors unthinkable, and the focus is on [...]

    6. This is a wonderfully written memoir by the son of a Holocaust survivor. Deeply compassionate and loving, it highlights the little known syndrome of late onset of PTSD; in survivors, it can first manifest fifty years and more after the events occurred. As in so much of Holocaust literature, one is left wondering how anyone actually survived the horrors of the mass genocide. And how they lived afterwards.

    7. Howard Reich grew up thinking that everyone's mother sat up all night at the kitchen table sipping coffee, because that's what his did. The severe effects of her post-traumatic stress didn't show up until her old age, prompting him to find out about her past as a holocaust survivor. Warning: there are some very disturbing things in the second half of this book, as he uncovers some holocaust history of his family members.

    8. This book was so hard to put down that I read straight through it in about 4 hours rather than shower or eat. Left me feeling that I'd been dragged backwards through a waterfall. This, in spite of page after page of idiotic marginal notes left by the previous owner -- usually something that makes me slam the book shut and never open it again.

    9. I met Howard when we were both speaking on a panel at the Midwest Literary Festival. A great man with a greater story. It started as a story in the Chicago Tribune, and then morphed into a book and now a documentary film. A truly worthy read.

    10. I felt this book was well written, I recommend this book to anyone. You feel like you're seeing a movie except in your mind. It was sad real story of someones like but none the less you can learn from a person struggles and be more grateful.

    11. I never fully realized that the murders of millions of Jews during the Holocaust was really only half of the horror. What the survivors and people of Eastern Europe saw and experienced ruined their lives.

    12. A quick and haunting read about the author's mother's late onset PTSD, sixty years after having survived the Holocaust.

    13. This book is haunting. Sonia's story is heartbreaking but her son's agony with having to pick up the pieces is equally horrifying.

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