Blogs, Bio, Conversations with Naomi, Book Reviews

02 February 2014

Beneath A Stormy Cloud: Moving On Without Her ~ review by Walter W. Ko

cover photo ~ Beneath A Stormy Cloud ~ by Naomi Litvin

On my last job, I worked with a fascinatingly diverse group of people which afforded me the incredible opportunity to get to know people from all over the world. One of my favorite, and best friends is Walter W. Ko, an intellectual Chinese historian, researcher of Japanese war crimes, and avid book reviewer on Amazon.com. Here is Walter's review of my new book. 
 
5.0 out of 5 stars From Edith with love February 1, 2014
Format:Paperback
This book is a continuation of the Litvin family first book, We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story. It features a selection from the collection of poems by Edith Litvin with feedback and comment from daughter Naomi Litvin as a commemoration.

The paragraph introducing Edith (p.vii) is compact, contrasting, and impressive. Even after Edith passed away, Naomi keeps her spirit alive in remembering her love by publishing her poems, reading her lines, seeing her pictures, and hearing her voice. As Edith was a Holocaust survivor, she has to struggle when her child asked why they did not fight back. It is very difficult for children in peace and not war to understand. “Such is life” is her answer (p.6). It was not unusual for Edith to share her experience of family history under the Nazis to her children for posterity and healing so that her children would honor and treasure the legacy and value the new life their parent’s best offered.

In response to her mother's poems, Naomi visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem (p.18) to trace her Jewish roots and to pray for peace. 
Life does not happen as in a fairy tale, as the Litvin family moved to Australia and returned to U.S. when it didn’t work out. The rough wave showed her emotion on the poems thereafter. The One Tear Escaped (p.25) was written from a heart of peace and expressed. The poem "The Jews Sing the Blues” was the sharing from the bottom of her heart. 
Why a Jewish Rabbi, Jesus, killed by Roman crucifixion, caused the blame for it on the whole Jewish people for forever? He did not intend to start a new religion with his life but died as a national martyr against the brutal imperial and colonial Roman Empire oppression.
Jews escaped from Nazi Germany persecution by ships to American soil but were only refused to come ashore. The lambs were returned to the tigers. Dr. Ho Fung-Shan, the Chinese diplomat in Austria issued thousands of emergency visas to Jews who fled to Shanghai China. The documentary “Shanghai Ghetto” was a vivid memory of their China years.

The Holocaust with six million Jews perished was in public consciences, but the holocaust in Asia was not known in the West until Iris Chang wrote the book The Rape of Nanking. However, the Nazi ally Japan whitewash, distort, and even deny it happened as not many Asian holocaust survivors were around to tell their horror.

Of all poems, I enjoyed, “Is Anyone Home?” (p.23), “Her Voice so Soft” (p.81) on days and nights, war and peace, sadness and happiness, human and creature, screams and silence.

This book is love between mother and daughter, a Jewish tapestry of life from war to peace, horror to love, Nazi brutality to land of the free. It is a Holocaust survival story affirming to live and flourish is victory over Nazis. And in comparison, the Asia holocaust victims and survivors still try hard to gain back their dignity and justice from their perpetrator with Japan PM Abe still echoing Tokyo Trial is “Victor Justice”.

Naomi shared in a meaningful way to honor her mother love. Edith must be smiling proudly down at Naomi from heaven for this family treasure.
The Shangai Ghetto documentary that Walter W. Ko refers to