About the Book: Norway Wasn't Too Small

From the author

My intense focus on details and thorough scrutiny of Norway and the Holocaust has been a priority for almost ten years now. My first book, a memoir, was “WE ARE GOING TO PICK POTATOES,” NORWAY AND THE HOLOCAUST, THE UNTOLD STORY. It consolidates my childhood experiences of the Holocaust in Norway and escape to neutral Sweden along with the merging of my new awareness of Hitler’s attack on the Norwegian Jews. I am a Holocaust survivor despite all and POTATOES is that story. The book covers my exile in Sweden from November 26, 1942 until the liberation on May 8, 1945 which allowed us to survive. The post war years found us back in Norway trying to reconstruct traces of a normality for my brother and me until we reached adulthood. How they managed, I will never know.

When I returned from Sweden I was still a small child who paid no attention to the pain and struggle which befell the adult “lucky” ones whose task was to reclaim their homes and businesses. They had to rebuild the Oslo Jewish congregation which was missing almost 40% of their pre-war membership, including the Rabbi and the Cantor. It was my turn, along with my family, to reclaim my Jewish heritage, of which only small remnants were left.

Once I was a young adult, I settled in the United States, committing myself to another culture, politics and role as an American wife raising American children. My religious commitment was the easiest of all; the USA offered everything about Judaism which Norway hadn’t while I grew up. The Holocaust had reduced everything that was left from what was offered prior to WWII.

In addition, as a writer I had achieved my adult goal of studying and interviewing about the Holocaust in Norway. POTATOES was published in both Norwegian and English, reaching thousands. Through numerous speaking requests, I spoke about the unknown history of Norway’s tragic, yet unfamiliar story. This was a chance to expand in the U.S., my second country, which gave me a third identity.

Why another book dealing with the same topic?

My body refused to close the door on the Holocaust in Norway. The next phase of my mission announced itself, a wish for education.

Familiarizing readers with the story of Norway’s past is insufficient. I want to provide a second, readable and productive book which will continue to spread knowledge and help disseminate the story of Norway’s commonality with the rest of Europe’s Holocaust experience. Our next generations need this knowledge.

The remembrance of six million people, those who have been annihilated in the worst human disaster ever, deserves to be made known and passed on to the next generations. In addition, I have an obligation to my family’s own role to make certain that Norway doesn’t vanish into the shadows due to its relatively minimal size and lack of familiarity.

My dream is to attract readers in a compelling way to experience what these times were like. NORWAY WASN’T TOO SMALL is fact-based fiction, a true story that evolves from my own family’s experiences and my creation of fictitious young people representing Norwegians of their age.

All the historical events and dates included in NORWAY WASN’T TOO SMALL are accurate and authentic. It blends realism with ordinary events, shares details of a number of others who experience the same horrors, yet who succeed in escaping, either by luck or help, or not.

Millions of people were in the wrong place in their countries at the wrong time when Germany invaded, exposed to the military and Gestapo in charge, as my story will reveal. In some instances people overcame the Nazi occupations through the gift of luck.

This novel is created for young adults and the generations that came before them. It combines a thrilling story with the underlying principle that we must never forget the real stories of millions of people who failed to escape the darkness; they remain in our memories forever.

Irene Levin Berman, 2016

 


"A gripping story of the little known history of Norway's Jews during World War ll.  
As compelling and moving on my second read as on my first. I couldn't put it down."
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        - Margaret Shapiro,  writer

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