Wednesday, 28 May 2014

#OBRT #War #Family - Guest Post - What Inspired DIGGING by @Susan_Rostan

For many of us, there comes a moment in our busy, yet comfortable lives, when something changes – when the world before us suddenly offers a new perspective, a novel and compelling choice, and there is a tangible shift in our thinking, our doing. My moment came the afternoon I stood watching my granddaughter Ella digging in my backyard.

A budding genealogist, I had just put aside my parents’ family tree and had turned to my husband’s family, hoping to re-create the few branches I knew with a degree of certainty. This, I was finding, was an exercise in futility. The once- flourishing family had lost so many branches during the Holocaust and I could not find any traces of their existence. My mother-in-law Elzbieta and her brother Marian, both survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto, would never speak about their lives before, during, or immediately after the war. My husband, who had grown up knowing his mother’s experiences during the war to be a forbidden topic for conversation or inquiry, knew very little about the family lost. What he did know was that they had lived in Warsaw and died at the hands of the Nazis. I had experienced the consequences of asking questions when a distant member of the family, curious and desperate for answers about her own immediate family’s history, doggedly questioned Marian, unleashing his explosive anger and pain with very few answers to speak of.

With my mother-in-law’s passing, Uncle Marian was the only one left to share his story and, along with it, his family’s history, their legacies. Nevertheless, I could not bring myself to confront Marian, even when Ella was born and named after Elzbieta, so I sat with my sadness and resignation.

It was Ella’s digging that inspired me to find so much more than the answers to my questions. She was sitting in my yard digging in the dirt, alongside our puppy LJ and a curious earthworm. As I watched the three of them, each engaged in their own kind of digging, their activities gave me the insight I desperately needed: there are many ways to dig for answers. In that instant, I understood that if I was careful and sensitive, my own digging could be fruitful and undamaging, if not beneficial.

The captivating scene prompted memories, ideas, and compelling meanings that challenged my sense of who I was and what I should be doing – what I needed to do with my thoughts and imaginings. It did not suffice for me to paint a picture or research the particulars of events or ideas, as I was accustomed to doing. It was necessary to write the story of our family’s survival; it was important to uncover, to 
know, to remember, and to share. It would give Ella a sense of her place within our family, a family that endured hardships and made her life possible.

In my early efforts to encourage Marian to talk about the family lost in the war, I recounted the stories Marian slowly and painfully retrieved and shared. At first careful to circle around the difficult recollections, Marian cautiously dug deep into the buried stories of his family and his rescuers. Re-living events of his life, memories formed when he was still a child, Marian described how he was able to survive once he escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto. With my written stories -- testimonies to the heroism of the people who risked their lives for Marian, Elzbieta, and their friends – Marian and I worked tirelessly to have his rescuers acknowledged as being Righteous Among the Nations, the title Yad Vashem bestows upon non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during WWII.

Thus the desire to re-create a family’s legacy for Ella – the need to put stories into words instead of painted images -- evolved into a story about Love, Family, Friendship, Sacrifice, Survival, Caring, and Laughter.


Have you ever really thought about your ancestors beyond their names and dates of events in their lives? The stories of how they lived their lives can be a source of strength as well as inspiration in your own life.

In this new work of narrative nonfiction, Susan M. Rostan invites us to experience her journey as she seeks to uncover the story of her husband s family, including two courageous but silent survivors of WWII s Warsaw Ghetto: her mother-in-law Elzbieta and Elzbieta s brother, Marian Rosenbloom.
With the passing of Elzbieta, an aging Uncle Marian is the only surviving link to his family s history -- the stories of tragic loss and heroic survival -- that he and his sister had refused to share with anyone throughout their life. Encouraged by the author and driven by an emerging sense of responsibility to his sister s namesake and future generations, Marian begins a difficult journey into the memories of his childhood in the Warsaw Ghetto and subsequent survival.

As his experiences unfold, he haltingly recalls how he managed to escape the Ghetto and survive, thanks to his courageous rescuers. Out of his remembrances, the author nurtures not only the story of her husband s family history, but finds herself immersed in an insistent desire to honor Marian s rescuers. Through her poignant and compelling narrative, she revives Elzbieta s legacy of hope, caring, and laughter for all of us to share.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Creative Nonfiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Susan M. Rostan through Facebook & Twitter



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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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