Our Inheritance And Legacy

Author Interview
Lester Blum Author Interview

The Spirit of Ruchel Leah tells the story of a woman living during the Holocaust and her struggles not just to survive but see her family escape to America away from the Nazis. Why was this an important book for you to write?

The Spirit of Ruchel Leah revolves around the letters that Ruchel Leah, my aunt, sent to my grandparents and father from 1938-1941 and subsequent letters from extended family members after the war. These letters, as the only remaining connection with Ruchel Leah and her family, were saved and passed on to my father, Abraham. After several years, he took on the task of translating the letters from the original Yiddish, Polish, Russian, and French so that his sister, brother, brother-in-law and nieces would not be forgotten by future generations.

Upon reading the translations, my sister Elaine and I told our father that the story is not just for our family, but needs to be exposed to a wider audience. When we inherited the letters and preliminary work from our late father, we embarked on an extraordinary research mission to bring the village, the family, and the era accurately to life. This was our inheritance and legacy.

We must learn from the past in order to engage in the present and have an impact on the future.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It was important to share the strength, courage, hope, and resiliency of one woman as she struggled for mere survival against unimaginable obstacles. To me, Ruchel Leah represented the essence of our people. It is also important to be aware that social and political implications direct decisions, such as the restrictive 1924 immigration laws, which impacted many individuals in the past and can affect the future. This generation needs to be proactive to change those implications for the good.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

Everyday of research produced surprises. We had to identify the individuals and events written about in Ruchel Leah’s letters and place them into the appropriate historical context. Being able to trace information about Ruchel Leah’s brother-in-law in Paris and sister-in-law who ultimately immigrated to Israel was perhaps the most surprising research. Tracking down the disposition of the visa application was also amazing and telling.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

The biggest challenge in writing The Spirit of Ruchel Leah was presenting a Holocaust story capturing the emotions and feelings of the individuals in the book in a manner that transcended being just the story of our family but also offered the reader a microcosm of the entire Holocaust experience.

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Imbued with hope, courage, and resiliency, The Spirit of Ruchel Leah recounts the story of one woman’s determination for more than mere survival in the face of unimaginable obstacles. Commentary on her correspondence and those of extended family members, encompassing all aspects of the Holocaust, is placed in historical, social, and religious context.
Stymied by the bureaucracy of the United States immigration policies, Ruchel Leah pursued obtaining the proper documentation so her daughter, Elka could immigrate to “The Golden Land”. As the murderous wings of the Nazi hordes enveloped Poland, the family fled east into Soviet Russia. Until her final letter, Ruchel Leah continued to express her resolution to save at least one child from the Holocaust. 
Then, silence.  Ruchel Leah, her husband, Anschel Taus, daughters, Elka and Surcha, and her brother, Moshe Blum were lost in the milieu of the Holocaust. 
In writing The Spirit of Ruchel Leah, parallel yet divergent sagas of survival emerged, each unique and with different conclusions. Consistent throughout was the unimaginable determination, courage, and persistence for survival exhibited to protect and save their families, particularly their children.
The Spirit of Ruchel Leah is a wide ranging Holocaust book which takes the reader on a complete educational journey. The book is international in scope ranging from Poland and New York to Belarus, Soviet Russia, Cuba, Cyprus, Israel, Brazil, and Paris.
Our legacy is The Spirit of Ruchel Leah.
“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” Eli Wiesel, Holocaust survivor
We will never forget!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 15, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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