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Ghita Schwarz discusses her novel Displaced Persons ($25.99). Schwarz distills the disparate experiences of the hundreds of thousands of ordinary men, women and children who lived through the cataclysm of war into a beautiful and heart-rending debut novel.
The end of World War II found some 250,000 Jewish survivors living as displaced persons—alive but without homes, families or communities to which they could return. From 1945 to 1952 these refugees lived, worked, and went to school in camps established in Allied-occupied Europe while they waited to begin lives elsewhere - with the largest numbers eventually heading to Palestine and the United Sates. By 1952 all of the refugee camps were closed and around the world their former inhabitants were building new lives, families and homelands. Until recently little has been written about this fascinating and turbulent time, and the experiences of the refugees into the ensuing decades.
Ghita Schwarz is a civil rights litigator specializing in immigrants’ rights. She grew up in a family of postwar Jewish refugees in New York City and attended Harvard College and Columbia Law School. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, The Believer, and The San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Moving from the Allied zones of postwar Germany to New York City, an astonishing novel of grief and anger, memory and survival witnessed through the experiences of "displaced persons" struggling to remake their lives in the decades after World War II