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This is Home Now: Kentucky's Holocaust Survivors Speak

by Arwen Donahue foreword by Rebecca Gayle Howell, Joan Ringelheim, Doug Boyd, James C. Klotter, and Terry Birdwhistell

Availablecloth$40.00s 978-0-8131-2547-3
Kentucky Remembered: An Oral History Series
256 pages  Pubdate: 06/26/2009  6 x 9 x .75  20

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At the end of World War II, many thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors immigrated to the United States from Europe in search of a new beginning. Most settled in major metropolitan areas, usually in predominantly Jewish communities, where proximity to co-religionists offered a measure of cultural and social support. However, some survivors settled in rural areas throughout the country, including in Kentucky, where they encountered an entirely different set of circumstances. Although much scholarship has been devoted to Holocaust survivors living in urban contexts, little has been written about them in the context of their experiences in rural America. Approximately forty Holocaust survivors currently live in Kentucky. Using excerpts from oral history interviews and documentary portrait photography, author Arwen Donahue and photographer Rebecca Gayle Howell tell the fascinating stories of nine of these survivors in a unique work of history and contemporary art. The book focuses on the survivors’ lives after their liberation from Nazi concentration camps, illuminating their reasons for settling in Kentucky, their initial reactions to American culture, and their reflections on integrating into rural American life.

Arwen Donahue has served as program coordinator in the Department of Oral History at the United States Holocaust Museum and managed its Post-Holocaust Interview Project.

Rebecca Gayle Howell
is a writer and documentary photographer. Currently, she is on the creative writing faculty at Morehead State University.

Until Donahue and Howell turned their recorders and cameras on these well-chosen survivors living in Kentucky, no one had taken the time to ask how these solitary transplants made new lives for themselves and their children in rural middle America. The stories and images reproduced in this book are both moving and arresting. We owe Donahue and Howell a great debt for rescuing them before they disappeared down the trapdoor of historical memory. -- Lawrence N. Powell, author of Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke’s Louisiana

“Fascinating . . . a unique work of traditional history and contemporary art. --

Each of the stories can stand on its own as a fascinating example of what has transpired for Jews outside of New York City. -- David Wallace, Community (Jewish Community Association of Louisville)

This Is Home Now focuses on the overlooked stories of Holocaust survivors who relocated to the commonwealth. -- Lexington Herald-Leader

Donahue offers many interviews that reveal the horrible things the Nazis did and the harmful effects on the survivors. -- Multicultural Review