The book you, my students and listeners, were asking for:
THE YELLOW STAR THAT WASN’T: Scandinavia, Miami, and Me. From Helsinki to a Miami Beach Obsession.
(paperback ISBN: 9780988216921; also e-book formats KINDLE and Barnes & Noble NOOK). Ask your favorite bookstore about it!
Set against the backdrop of Jewish history in Scandinavia during WWII, this 70,000-word historical memoir is about the road of a post-war, Protestant, Swedish girl in Finland to her American obsession with what happened to the Jews in Scandinavia during the Holocaust years of World War II.
In the book, I recall my early life as a linguistic minority on the outside of the homogeneous society of Helsinki, Finland, where Jews and Catholics are an exotic rarity, and my longing to live in America where everyone, at least in my Hollywood movies, lives happily ever after.
Blending historical facts from WWII in Scandinavia with personal anecdotes about my growing awakening to the existence of a Jewish people, I show how my desperate search to belong takes me to Miami through a marriage with a Catholic-American to falling in love with a Jewish-American man with a medical diagnosis of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His never-ending obsession with the main actors in the Holocaust – even through a terminal illness – lays the foundation for my own fixation with the wartime history of the Scandinavian Jews.
Readers of this non-fiction work get important historical facts (for instance, that Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway on the same day in 1940 while Finland and Sweden were left alone) without being over-whelmed by mind-numbing information, in a way that the previous literature about the years 1940-1945 has not done. My personal reflections help readers relate on a more personal level while letting them see how history and culture continue to affect the way we still view human relations, specifically in the area of tolerance and the fight against antisemitism.
To mention just one example of how my own contemplation of the subject of antisemitism has been shaped by the unexpected questions I’ve received, when one of my listeners stumped me with rumors that Jean Sibelius (world-famous composer from Finland) had been an antisemite it sent me to his partially-published journals (written in Swedish, my own native tongue), which apparently are the root of the claim of his antisemitism. While I reflect on that question I also consider the historical context of Finland during the composer’s lifetime.
Among my unique qualifications are my proficiency in all Scandinavian languages, my scholarly background, and that I – through my ongoing lectures and writings – understand what Americans want to know about this part of history involving four Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden), all with their own unique experiences.
Sample Reviewer Comments:
“Throughout [the book] historical gems are artfully nested in personal and cultural revelations which underlie this special contribution to the genre(s) of WWII history and 21st century memoir.” (LRM)
“[the book] successfully weaves the writer’s personal story into a narrative of acceptance/intolerance/resilience of the Jews in Scandinavia before, during and after the events of WW-II. Ultimately it’s an inspirational story on several levels.” (CA gal)
“The history of the Scandinavian Jewish experience of the Holocaust was full of information that was new to me. The comments the writer’s lectures stimulated reveals the great connection to victims and survivors that lives in the generation that grew up right after WWII. This connection inevitably will fade in the following generations – to their peril.” (J&J)
“While it was the title that intrigued me (so contrary to the history I thought I knew), it was the personal story that kept me mesmerized. We are all products of the people who raised us!” (Former teacher)