Author Chat with Joshua M. Greene, co-author of SIGNS OF SURVIVAL: A Memoir of the Holocaust, plus Giveaway! ~US Only
Today we are chatting with Joshua M. Greene, co-author of SIGNS OF SURVIVAL: A Memoir of the Holocaust!
Read on for more about Joshua, his book, and a giveaway!
Meet Joshua M. Greene!
Joshua M. Greene produces books and films about the Holocaust. His documentaries have been broadcast in twenty countries and his books translated into eight languages. He has taught Holocaust history for Fordham and Hofstra Universities. He lives in Old Westbury, New York.
Meet Renee Hartman!
Renee Hartman was born in Bratislava, which is now the capital of Slovakia. She and her sister were arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen, where they endured horrifying conditions, and where Renee nearly succumbed to typhus. After being liberated, Renee and her sister immigrated to the United States. Ever since, Renee has been writing about her experiences in the Holocaust. She lives in Connecticut.
About SIGNS OF SURVIVAL: A Memoir of the Holocaust:
RENEE: I was ten years old then, and my sister was eight. The responsibility was on me to warn everyone when the soldiers were coming because my sister and both my parents were deaf.
I was my family's ears.
Meet Renee and Herta, two sisters who faced the unimaginable -- together. This is their true story.
As Jews living in 1940s Czechoslovakia, Renee, Herta, and their parents were in immediate danger when the Holocaust came to their door. As the only hearing person in her family, Renee had to alert her parents and sister whenever the sound of Nazi boots approached their home so they could hide.
But soon their parents were tragically taken away, and the two sisters went on the run, desperate to find a safe place to hide. Eventually they, too, would be captured and taken to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Communicating in sign language and relying on each other for strength in the midst of illness, death, and starvation, Renee and Herta would have to fight to survive the darkest of times.
This gripping memoir, told in a vivid "oral history" format, is a testament to the power of sisterhood and love, and now more than ever a reminder of how important it is to honor the past, and keep telling our own stories.
Author Chat With Joshua M. Greene:
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Renee Hartman was married to a renowned Holocaust scholar, Geoffrey Hartman, who helped me with my first film for television, “Witness: Voices from the Holocaust.” Renee was featured as one of the 17 witnesses who appear in the film, and I’d always wanted to tell her story in greater detail.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
To not get in the way of the story, to not try to show how talented you are, but allow the story to unfold as it needs to. Very often the saying is true: Less is more.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The designers have done an extraordinary job conveying in one image both the threat of the Nazi invasion across Europe and also the bond between Renee and her deaf sister.
What’s on your TBR pile?
I love reading good books twice, since what makes them good is that you can’t get everything in just one reading. I’m about half-way through rereading Thomas Wolf’s You Can’t Go Home Again, which is so powerful it sometimes feels like he wrenched the words from his stomach.
What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
Doris Kearn Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winner No Ordinary Time, about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in the war years. Extraordinary research and a revealing look inside the human dimension of politics.
What’s up next for you?
I’m producing a documentary film about the 92-year-old Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer, who has done more than anyone to explain how to watch and listen to the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. His basic message is to listen with open ears and without hoping for a happy ending. The Holocaust was not about bravery and the human spirit.
Are there any film adaptations, tv shows, audiobooks, or other adaptations in the works for this book?
That’s the question no author should ever have to answer. The transition from page to screen usually requires compromising the integrity of the book, since the demands of film are so different. A wise and popular writer once advised me, “When Hollywood comes knocking, don’t open the door.”
What advice would you give to new writers?
Think first about what your motives are for writing. Is it because you really have something important to say, or is it the ego of wanting to see your name on a book on bookstore shelves? And be honest about what you are doing. I make the mistake all the time of trying to be more “literary” than I’m capable. That’s never a good idea.
Authors: Renee Hartman and Joshua M. Greene
Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction / History / Holocaust
Age Range: Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
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