Masza, a young Jewish woman, is swept up in the terror of the Holocaust. Separated from her family and all she holds dear, she is plunged into a sordid life of imprisonment. Her only comfort is her friendship with a fellow woman prisoner. The spirit of Masza’s mother visits her in dreamlike states, assuring her that they will be reunited soon.
Masza learns that the place of her imprisonment is Auschwitz, named after the nearby town of Oswiecim. Before the war, Oswiecim was home to a large Jewish community. The word derives from ushpitzin, meaning “guests” in Yiddish and Aramaic. But who are the guests? The soldiers who rape Masza daily? The prophets who were awaited during the festival of Sukkot? Or is Masza merely a guest in her own life? As the inevitable end approaches, Masza begins to realise that her soul will survive—long after her body is destroyed. Healing and a return to life are possible.
The story is a fictionalised account of the author’s apparent memories of a past life and death in the Holocaust.
Research for this book
The phenomenon of past-life memory is increasingly well documented, with Holocaust memories playing a prominent role. Studies published recently have confirmed that a number of Jewish women suffered Masza’s awful fate in Nazi death camps. In 2010, an important collection of papers was published under the title Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust (eds. Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel; Brandeis University Press, University Press of New England). Sue Randall has carefully researched all emerging material in this field to verify her personal memories and insight.
Masza has been described by readers as a difficult story well told, a page-turner with a powerful spiritual message. The profoundly human characters bring cold facts to life and will leave you with a feeling of hope rather than despair.
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