Generations of Memories

From England, GENERATIONS OF MEMORIES, written by the Jewish Women in London Group (Women’s Press, 1989), shares 44 life stories (eight of them presented at length) originally developed from oral testimonies. The common thread is that all the women are first- or second-generation immigrants to England, having come from Eastern Europe, Israel, Italy, Persia, and South Africa. Diverse in age, class, religious observance, sexual preference and politics, these women help us appreciate the complexity and special nuances of English Jewry. The story of Rita Altman (born in 1922 in Germany, arriving in England just before World War II) was the most resonant for me. Her loneliness and struggle to reconcile old world and new felt abidingly familiar.