A Solution to a Problem that Threatens the United States

The greatest threat to the security of the United States and the world is the destabilization of the Middle East and the rise of a nuclear Iran. My solutions are as follows:

1. Defund the United Nations and throw them out of the United Sates. The UN is a cesspool of influence peddlers, overtly dedicated to the interests of the Muslim world. Let them  disseminate their destructive influence elsewhere. Without US funding or support, the UN will crumble and can be replaced by a more constructive organism.

2. Open the floodgates for the US to begin exporting oil. The US possesses the largest reserves of high-quality light oil in the world. The world’s refineries prefer light oil over the heavy oil that comes from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Canada. The shale revolution has made possible almost limitless supplies of high-quality light oil that can be produced from the greatest nation on earth, the US. We need to become self-sufficient and not import any foreign oil. Currently, we import over  9 million barrels a day, which is ridiculous and self-destructive. It will require several years to convert heavy oil refineries to light oil production. This can be accomplished by granting tax credits for refinery conversion. In fact, this would actually lower the price of gas in this country as light oil is less expensive to refine. How can we allow Iran to export unlimited supplies of oil and deny US producers export rights?

3. No deal with Iran unless they come to the table with reasonable concessions, including, full, unhampered inspections of their nuclear facilities. They must stop supporting worldwide terrorism, and they must stop their proliferation of ballistic missiles. They must also recognize Israel’s right to exist, and reverse their policies and pronouncements for the destruction of the US and Israel.

4. No funding, money, or charity to the Middle East, particularly the Palestinians until the Mullahs and the Imams stop teaching and preaching anti-Semitism/Israel  and anti-American hatred and recognize the sovereignty of the State of Israel as a Jewish State.

5. Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, and recognize Israel’s right to exist by every Arab nation, signed, sealed, and delivered. Once this is done, all of it, we can recognize, help establish and support a two-state solution.

6. In lieu of a two-state solution, if not possible, then as originally defined by the UN, the West Bank would become part of Jordan which has a very large Palestinian population, and Gaza would become part of Egypt, both are basically Sunni Muslim countries and compatible.

7.  I now I give you a small taste from my upcoming book Once is Not Enough, by my pseudonym Belle Ami, that is to be released in 2015. It addresses a practice and simple solution that would reduce emissions of Co2 in our environment. The practice is called no-till farming, and it is amazing that no one seems to address really practical ways to solve the environmental problems we face.

“With an estimated increase in world populations over the next thirty years to exceed two billion people, the demand to feed those people will create an insatiable need for arable land. That need will also lead to dramatic increases in environmental destruction and pollution. The most successful and feasible answer to this problem is conservation tillage and soil management. By improving the soil quality, we reduce soil erosion. Over the last forty years, we have lost nearly one-third of all arable land due to erosion. Crop yields from soil eroded land tend to deliver nearly ten percent less production. As for pollution, water runoff from agriculture is the most serious contaminant of our waterways, not only destroying aquatic habitats, but contaminated water increases the need for water treatment and dredging. There is also significant scientific evidence that traditional farm practices of soil tillage contributes significantly to global warming. When the soil is tilled it oxidizes releasing greenhouse gasses greater than no-tilled soil. Not to mention the impact of  CO2 emitted from fuel usage by tractors and farm equipment. It is estimated that conservation tillage, if implemented worldwide, could reduce fuel use by forty to fifty percent. Improved farming techniques also result in improved land management and biodiversity, inviting diverse species to thrive.       

      “It is shocking to consider that even in Europe, conservation tillage and sustainable farm practices are not being utilized even as I speak. Conservation tillage provides real solutions to the need for increased food production without destroying the eco-system, or the environment. It lessens our dependence on fossil fuels and reduces our consumption of natural resources. Most important, it saves future generations from inheriting a barren landscape.”        

     Miles paused for effect. “This is a goal that is reachable. We have the technology, what we need is the implementation, and the will to change. Farmers in developing nations need to be convinced that sustainability is profitable. The Penguin Trust has the ability to partner up with NGO’s, governments, and companies, whose focus is on conservation and environmental sustainability. This is where our investment in the future must lie.”

And that, my friends, is how to address and solve problems.

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Holocaust Memorial Day – In the Face of Evil

Today is Yom Hashoah, the day of remembrance for the six million Jews that were genocidally murdered during the Holocaust. It seems fitting that I should remember my own small part in ensuring that the world never forgets. In 2010 I self-published my novel In the Face of Evil which I based on my mother Dina’s survival of the Holocaust. Happily, Dina survived, and was liberated seventy years ago today at Bergen Belsen. In the years that followed, she created a life of renewal, dedicating herself to  her husband and children. She was the only survivor of her immediate family. Only two other cousins of her extensive family of uncles, aunts, and cousins would remain when the ashes of the crematoriums of Auschwitz and Treblinka finally stopped raining ashes upon the blood soaked earth.

My journey to bring Dina’s story to life was fraught with obstacles from the beginning. I was unable to secure a traditional publisher (perhaps I didn’t try hard enough). I was a first time author (I’ve written three more books since then under my pseudonym), and it was my first time on the race track without any “how-to” as far as PR, social media, and marketing. I made lots of mistakes. First, thinking I could self-edit and not have a professional editor. That ended with me having to pull the book when the comments were scathing as to the amount of errors present in the manuscript. Then a lawyer who had read and loved my book, even with all the erratum, contacted me and offered her FREE services to edit the book, which she considered an honor.  I will be eternally grateful Jennifer Livingston, you certainly gave more than you got. Soon after, on a lark, I submitted my book for the National Jewish Book Awards, and received Finalist recognition for my labor of love.  I was on a roll. Now, after writing three more books, and having improved significantly in my writing, I would love to edit, perfect, and republish In the Face of Evil, but alas, I’m busy with the editing of a new book, and the creation of the next one after that. Perhaps, one day I will return and update In the Face of Evil. I have received so many reviews that expressed disbelief that this book is not a bestseller. In fact, to this day I am rated 4.62 stars on Amazon and 4.23 stars on Goodreads, which is strutting with the stars by any measure.

My family and I have been blessed to still have Dina with us, and of sound mind. Well, as sound of mind as an eighty-six year old can be, or for that matter as sound of mind as her significantly younger daughter is.

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day I leave you with an excerpt from In the Face of Evil. It is a passage that takes place on April 15th, 1945, the day Dina was liberated from Bergen Belsen.

“It feels like years since we got here, yet I know it is only a few months. Starvation has taken its toll and my body has shrunk to that of a small child. My pashak swims on me, I have no breasts and my menstruation has never come. Death lurks in the shadows for all of us, but lately I feel the cold hands encircling me in an icy embrace. I eat less and sleep more, happy to slip into the darkness of dreams where I relive my childhood. I dream of my mother’s cooking, of holiday meals with my family. The dreams are so real that sometimes I wake in pain having bit my tongue, my mouth pungent with the metallic taste of blood.

I know that I am dying and I feel tranquility… peace.  Sometimes my soul rises out of my body and I see myself lying below. All the pain and hunger have left me. I am nearly free of the ties that bind me to this life. Like a butterfly I glide across the sky, now and again lifted by the fingers of the wind. I barely hear Lusia, who calls to me in my stupor. Her voice is a distant echo from far away, calling me, but I pay her no heed. I am soaring toward the sun.


“Let me sleep, Lusia, why are you telling me lies? Go away and let me die. Please, do not tease me!” I am falling from the sky, plunging to Earth.

            “Get up, we are free! The English are sharing their food. We are moving into the Nazis’ housing in Bergen. I swear, Dynka, the war is over! You are not going to die! Not now!”

Pulling me to my feet with her arms supporting me, she leads me outside. Now I am surely living in a dream. Everywhere I look I see handsome men in uniform smiling at me. No one ever smiles in Bergen-Belsen. Perhaps I am dead already. All around me everyone is smiling, laughing and crying with joy. It is surreal, I am still not able to comprehend the reality of the moment until I see a group of Nazi SS  women being led away, their hands on their heads, fear in their eyes. With whatever strength I have left I pick up a stone and throw it in their direction. I hit Aufseherin Bormann squarely on her temple and she winces looking at me, her face now hideously gray and lined with fear. Suddenly I am filled with strength as my blood soars through my veins. With the joy of revenge pulsing through me, I spit in her direction.

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Remembering Anne Frank

Having just passed the anniversary of the birth of Anne Frank, I find myself remembering her short yet unforgettable life.

Anne Frank was born June 12, 1929, one week later, my mother Dina Frydman was born on June 20, 1929. Anne was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but her family moved to Amsterdam when she was four years old to escape the rise to power of the Nazis. My mother was born and lived with her loving family in Radom, Poland. Interestingly, Amsterdam and Radom lie approximately 773 miles apart, and nearly perpendicular to each other on a map. On September 1, 1939, when the Nazis invaded Poland, both Dina and Anne’s lives would change forever.

During the chaos and destruction of World War II my mother, Dina Frydman and Anne Frank suffered as innocent victims of atrocities no child should ever endure. They were enslaved, starved, humiliated, and treated as sub-humans. At an age when they should have been dreaming of their future and flirting with young men, instead, they watched as their families were torn apart, and their world of hope and dreams died an agonizing death.

Before the war, both young girls showed academic promise and lived in a future that promised upward middle-class mobility due to their hard working parents. However, their dreams of a normal life would soon be quashed by the military might of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi machine and his planned and orchestrated, march of death to create a Juden free Europe.

It was at the death factory of Auschwitz that fate would first bring Anne and Dina together. My mother arrived in Auschwitz on July 7, 1944, in a cattle car from Pinoki, an armaments factory in Poland, where she loaded ammunition and gun powder onto trains bound for the Eastern front. After being discovered in their secret hiding place in the annex on August 4, 1944, Anne and her family were arrested and deported to Westerbork Concentration camp in the Netherlands. On September 3, 1944, Anne and her family were transferred to Auschwitz.

Both girls were now at the factory of death that was Auschwitz. However, my mother, on October 10, 1944, was miraculously chosen by Mengele, the dreaded doctor who bore the terrifying sobriquet of the “angel of death”, to leave Auschwitz for a satellite-camp of Auschwitz named Hindenburg. At Hindenburg through the freezing winter of 1944 she marched through snow drifts in cardboard shoes without a coat, wearing nothing but a striped Pashak, to an armaments factory as a slave laborer where she welded parts for submarines. Anne would remain in Auschwitz with her mother Edith and her sister Margo until January of 1945. Her mother, Edith, died shortly before the sisters were shipped out of Auschwitz. With the failure of the Russian campaign the Nazis began to fall back to Germany when the tide turned against them. But, even with the pressure of a losing war, and the knowledge that they could not win, Hitler and his henchmen remained true and dedicated to one purpose, the genocide of the Jews.

It was in January 1945 that Dina and Anne’s paths converged completely in Bergen-Belsen. Bergen-Belsen was the most hopeless place on the face of the earth. When Anne and Dina arrived in cattle cars there were nearly 100,000 inmates stuffed into barracks that housed approximately 500 inmates each. In deplorable condition of filth and disease, they slept on rags on the ground, starving, waiting to die.

Of all of the barracks in Bergen-Belsen, somehow Dina, Anne, and Margo ended up in the same crowded building. Not only the same barracks, but literally their spot of ground was but a few feet apart from each other. In such conditions of daily death and starvation, you might wonder how my mother has such a clear recollection of Anne and her sister Margo. Why in heaven’s name would she even notice two young women that spoke a different language than her, lying on the ground, when everywhere as far as the eye could see were the starving, the dying, and the already dead?

If it is our humanity that defines us, then therein lies the reason that Dina noticed Anne and Margo. Nearly stripped of empathy and humanity, all that remained was the memory of love and family. Every time my mother had to drag herself outside to go to the bathroom, or to clean herself, she had to step past two dark-haired sisters who clung to each other. They spoke Dutch, but it was not hard for my mother to understand what was being said. The younger sister, Anne, was desperately trying to keep Margo alive with words, with prayers, with comfort. Dina in every way imaginable related to the drama that was playing out between Anne and Margo. She was struck by this love between sisters and the fact that they had somehow managed to remain together. Dina would have given anything to have her sister Nadja with her, but Nadja and Dina’s entire family had perished in the gas chamber at Triblinka in August, 1942, leaving her an orphan. It is understandable that Dina would be drawn to these devoted sisters. Dina could see that Margo was dying of typhus and she felt Anne’s pain as she watched her desperately try to keep Margo alive. When Margo died it was obvious to my mother that Anne gave up. She too was sick with typhus, but it was the loss of Margo that deprived her of the will to live.

Anne died two weeks before the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by the British Army on April 15, 1945. Dina, barely alive, survived. At the time of liberation there were approximately 60,000 inmates, and 13,000 corpses piled upon a wall of death around the camp.

Anne left a diary that her father published after the war, The Diary of Anne Frank. This heartrending young girl’s last testament to life has been read by over 400 million people, immortalizing her forever as a young inspiring voice. I wrote an award winning novel, In the Face of Evil, about my mother Dina’s years, before, during and after the Holocaust, lest we forget.

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One Can Only Wonder at the Ideas that are Bought and Sold on the Internet

Having researched and written a book on the Holocaust I feel particularly well versed in the history of that ignominious chapter of human history. I also understand well humankind’s propensity to disavow and rationalize the blight of its offenses and to relegate them to the distant past. We all yearn to be forgiven for our sins and given a second chance. In recent years, the United States close ties to Israel have become the fuel for a new kind of virulent anti-Semitism. All one has to do is to go on YouTube and watch nearly any video with relation to Israel and you can read a firestorm of comments, most treading dangerously close to pure unadulterated hatred of Israel (you can easily substitute the word Israel with the designation Jews), its right to exist and most importantly the United States support of that right to exist. One can also find this particular type of hatred expressed by misguided Jews (self-hatred) on Jewish Media sites and it is rampant in organizations such as J Street. As happened during the 1930’s when a world-wide depression gripped the economies of the world and the “time immemorial” scapegoat, the Jews, became the target for the world’s troubles, so it seems that same scenario is smoldering, albeit less obviously, again today. Today, however, it is cloaked in concern for the Arab world (Arab Spring), an armed and nuclear Iran (nuclear holocaust), and our own national problems at home (unemployment and weak recovery). Hidden beneath this cloak of concern and equanimity lies the same bald faced intolerance and distortion that somehow it is Israel that stands in the way of world peace, and that it is Israel that is the source of our unfortunate involvement in the Middle East, and it is because of our relationship with Israel that we were attacked on 911 and are considered the “Great Satan” by the Arab world, and that our relationship with Iran would be sublime were it not for that “little shitty country”.
Even the rise of Ron Paul, in some ways, is tied to this perception of the inequity of our continued support of Israel. This is a perfect example of politics gone awry. In a world that has become ever smaller due to the internet highway, virtual revolution and global economies that are so closely linked, witness the fluctuations of the stock markets every time Greece sneezes, it seems paradoxical to be suggesting that isolationism would serve our best interests. Yet, there is a growing contingency of our society that would have you believe that we would be better served by cutting off all financial support to the international community and in particular Israel. I have great respect for many of Ron Paul’s ideas, particularly in terms of the “gorilla in the room” the Federal Government (King Kong) which needs to be reduced, reformed, reorganized and restructured from “soup to nuts” or “tax system to special interests”, that is another conversation. I also agree that we can no longer afford to be the “policeman” of the world. However, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, Ron Paul’s lack of diplomatic acumen and foresight makes him unelectable. Yet, it is still fascinating and worrisome to observe his growing cadre of faithful followers, especially among the younger population who are increasingly worried about the world that they will inherit.
The truth is so malleable in the hands of adept pundits that I often find myself feeling on the verge of tearing my hair out when I listen to them. As my anger builds my blood seethes in my veins and pounds in my skull until I am forced at times to respond with comments on various media websites. I don’t really like to waste my time doing this as it only encourages the brainless to bombard me with their blathering (my new favorite word for what I mostly hear from the media and people who comment on YouTube, etc.). I would much prefer spending a few minutes on Facebook catching up with my friends and engaging in benign conversations. Yet, grudgingly, I find I must sometimes take the time to posit an argument or clarification to the justifications and immoral platitudes that are so generously put forth as the truth of God, country and personal belief from all of the predator cruisers of the internet. The only good that comes of any of this is naught, as they are not really in the market to discuss and rationally argue their theories. Mostly they blather so as to disseminate their vile hatred with a pungent sampling of poor grammar, indescribably inept spelling, English language inadequacies and deficiencies, and a healthy dose of curse words. I believe Lenny Bruce said it best “Feh!” “Feh!”
It seems that as the world becomes more technologically advanced and we become ever closer to our global neighbors in cyberspace, we “thinking” folks must become ever more discerning and questioning of what we encounter as “gospel truth” on the “information highway”. We would be wise to disabuse ourselves of truths built on lies and instead indoctrinate ourselves in history, economics and politics so as to better wade the tsunami of blathering (there’s that word again) that assails us.

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Facebook, Is it Necessary to Give Voice to Hatred?

Facebook is the largest and most prolific social media site in the world. The actions that it takes on administering its site are consequential to all. Recently, it has become the home of Holocaust denial and the favorite launching site of hatred and bigotry.

A recent letter signed by Holocaust survivors who are volunteers at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles requested that Facebook review its policy on allowing Holocaust-denial sites to prosper and voice their opinion on Facebook.

“We, the undersigned, are Holocaust survivors who saw our parents, children and loved ones brutally murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust,” the letter states. “We are writing to you to protest Facebook’s policy that categorizes
Holocaust denial as ‘free speech,’ rather than the shameless, cynical and hateful propaganda that it is.”

Facebook’s reply was less than satisfying to those that bear the scars of the world’s worst genocide.

“We think it’s important to maintain consistency in our policies, which don’t generally prohibit people from making statements about historical events, no matter how ignorant the statement or how awful the event.”

The question that must be answered: Is it appropriate or moral for bald-faced historical revisionists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites to have a safe haven to propagate their hateful agenda? They are inundating the susceptible in our society, or in other words, stirring up the cauldron of hate. The consequences of this are frightening to imagine. What will come next? Recruitment for the KKK? Excuse me, what am I thinking? That is probably occurring already.

It is time for the words “Freedom of Speech” to be defined and revealed as they were intended by our forefathers. The Internet has given rise to unimaginable access. The farthest reaches of our planet are no longer far at all. Minute-by-minute discourse is possible and ideas travel faster, it seems, than the speed of light. How might Hitler be smiling (in Hell of course) at the dissemination of his evil philosophy thanks to the spineless, obsequious policies of Facebook?

Facebook should stand up and set precedent; it should lead and not follow. I call on Mark Zuckerberg, a born Jew and self-proclaimed atheist, to mend his company’s ways and “do the right thing!” Remove evil hate sites that do not add to the glory of Facebook or to our world, and in so doing remove the tacit endorsement and legitimization that having a page on Facebook provides.

Give the survivors, who are in the twilight of their lives, the dignity of knowing that it was not all for naught and, more importantly, the triumph of having prevailed over evil.

Tema Merback is the author of “In the Face of Evil: Based on the life of Dina Frydman Balbien.”

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Holocaust Memorial Week Blog

It was the summer of 1939 and the world was still suffering through a great depression that had wreaked havoc with the economies of the newly industrialized world. A storm was gathering on the horizon that no one could have predicted would change the very nature of war and human condition forever. In the city of Radom, Poland, 36,000 Jews lived in relative freedom among a primarily Christian population. Having found protection from the Polish Kings since the 10th C. they had flocked to the safe harbor of Poland as Ashkenazim and Sephardim were expelled from country after country in Western Europe. Banished from the Hapsburg Empire, expelled from Spain and Portugal, and freely seeking a better life from Italy and Turkey, they came over a millennium until their population burgeoned to over 3 million. Poland had become the hub of Jewish culture worldwide. Historically it had gained the reputation of being the most tolerant country in Europe. In reality, Jews and Christians lived in completely separate worlds. Separate, but for the most part equal with their Catholic countrymen. Unfortunately, beneath the surface age old hatreds were simmering and threatening. Scapegoats were needed and Jews were the time honored targets. Yet, even with the rising tide of anti-Semitism and the restrictions on what professions Jews could or could not partake in, many of the Jewish population through industriousness had achieved the dream of a middle class existence. The “People of the Book” could now achieve a university education. A better life loomed on the horizon of Europe’s Jews and their children. They lived in a world where hope shone like a beacon towards a prosperous future.
My mother, Dina Frydman, was 10 years old that summer. She lived with her parents, brother Abek and sister Nadja, in an apartment on Koszarowa Ulica in a boisterous Jewish neighborhood. The streets teemed with vivacity; each house sheltered a world of laughter and tears, joys and sorrows. The Frydman’s were hardworking and prosperous; both my mother’s parents worked together in their butcher shop; Joel, catering to the needs of their Jewish neighbors and Temcia, tending to her loyal Christian customers. The Frydman’s practiced a modern religious orthodoxy. Clean shaven this new generation of Jews prided themselves on their education, intellect and culture. In one day, on September 1st 1939 that world disintegrated in a maelstrom of bombs as the Nazis marched across Poland. In The Face of Evil is the story of Dina. It is the story of a young girl that lived an idyllic life surrounded by love until war consumed the world. Caught in the vortex of a storm of hatred, she would struggle to survive amid the destruction of family and friends. Her vanished childhood would become six years of work and slave camps, and finally Auschwitz & Bergen-Belsen. Through all of the loss she would retain her humanity and the goodness that a loving family had bequeathed her. Memory was her treasure. And, so it was that she gave her memory to me. Like a skeleton her words became the bones of the story of which I would create flesh, blood and the spark of life. From this melding of two hearts, a mother & daughter, “In the Face of Evil” was born. The writing of this book has imbued me with hope and a belief in mankind. The resilience of my mother and her optimism in the face of evil is an inspiration for us all. It is also a testament of one survivor, one witness, to the memory of those that perished and an indelible imprint on the historical veracity of the Holocaust.

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In The Face of Evil – A Novel by Tema Merback

In The Face of Evil – A Novel by Tema Merback.

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Hatred on YouTube

Recently I was sent a link to a YouTube video that was most vile and disturbing, it was entitled:  “Holocaust, Hate Speech & Were the Germans so Stupid”.  It was a thirty minute tour-de-force in Holocaust denial.  Someone had clearly done a thorough job in creating revisionist history.  The result was a well researched, highly professional and polished video (narrated by a scholarly, trustworthy sounding British voice) that presented some compelling (although false) arguments and information as to the impossibility and exaggeration of the Holocaust.  I will not repeat any of the arguments purported in this film as I would only be giving them more credence.  I will only say that my blood boiled when I watched it.  Even more disturbing than the lies perpetrated within the film were the responding comments, hundreds of them, that were congratulatory, a verbal pat-on-the-back to the demon creator.  The comments reflected each commenter’s eagerness to accept and believe the evil persuasion of the film.  I probably should have ignored the rabid vitriol that these hate-mongers advocated, how they basked with pleasure in their anti-Semitism, but I could not.  I felt compelled to answer, to defend the victims, to debunk the lies, to accuse these faceless haters of being ignorant and incendiary.  So, I responded in kind to their comments and went to sleep.  Little did I know that I would ignite a firestorm of activity, like flies drawn to an open wound or maggots attacking the dead these gleeful Jew haters felt compelled to respond and tried to bait me by attacking the incontrovertible testimony of my OWN MOTHER (if you are reading this blog, by now you know that I have written a historical novel based on my mother’s survival of the Holocaust).   At first I was frightened, I felt exposed to a murderous population that might seek me out in order to destroy me.  Then, of course, I realized that my responses and identity were anonymous.  I went forth into the arena prepared for battle with these minions of Satan.   I would not back down until I had slain my adversaries with words and facts.  It seemed like it would be relatively easy to refute these, for the most part, ignorant individuals whose knowledge of 20th Century history and World War II was minimal at best.  However, regardless of my solidly built arguments exposing the myths of the film, and my dramatic presentation of my own mother’s ordeal (Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen), memories and loss (family and friends); I was unable to persuade or dissuade, what could only be considered, the cancerous growth that was firmly rooted and growing within these bigots.

Inexplicably, within a few days the replies from the monsters ceased as quickly as they had begun and I returned to the normalcy of my life.  I didn’t give a thought to any of it until a week or two passed and I decided to write a blog about this disturbing occurrence.  I returned to the YouTube site and was notified that the video had been removed.  Not because of inflammatory content, but because of some kind of copyright infringement.  In reality, I could not have been more pleased then to see this ugly content removed regardless of the reason.

The lesson I took from this cyberspace battlefield is that although I could not “change the spots on the leopard” so to speak, and probably didn’t convince a soul as to the absurdity of the film or the ugliness of believing in it.  Still, I stood up for what was morally right and I was not cowered by the cruel provocative taunts that were hurled at me through cyberspace.  Beware; those who espouse hatred and would revise history to accommodate your beliefs, some of us will never back down.  We will fight you wherever you assemble.

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The Creation of In the Face of Evil

The Creation of In the Face of Evil

Sometimes I look at the first few pages of my novel, In the Face of Evil, and I am stunned.  Did I really write this book?  It is over two years since inception, yet the novelty of having given birth to a book is so new that like childbirth I have no problem remembering the labor pains.  Naturally, like a doting parent I take great pride in my accomplishment.  Having read countless memoirs from the Holocaust, I intentionally set out to create a different kind of Holocaust book.  One that not only captured the actual events of my mother’s survival, but one that would also captivate the reader with the joyous world of pre-Nazi Poland and display the friendships and relationships that were developed even under the most dire of circumstances.  Written as it occurs, I feel it envelopes the reader to the extent that they actually feel they are living the events.  I wanted this book to interest teenage readers as well as adults and I look forward to hearing from some teen readers in order to bear this out.

Since this is my blog about my book, I think it is important to explain a little about the process of my creation.  As with all memoirs, In the Face of Evil began with hours of taped interviews with my mother.  With each question asked and answered, a whole fresh crop of questions would arise.  Often my mother’s answers led to mysteries that had to be resolved in order to coalesce the actual historical events of the war and her memory.  Memory did not always provide accuracy.  It is interesting to note that people are often surprised that I call this book a novel.  It doesn’t occur to them that I literally took threads of stories and wove them together into a tapestry.  Because I wrote it in the first person they assume that these are my mother’s words verbatim from her lips.  Undoubtedly, this is something that I am truly proud of.  It is this unquestionable truth, without a moment’s suspension of belief that attracts the audience.  It is the powerful tether that keeps the reader entranced and impelled to turn the page.  As I see it, this is the author’s true occupation, to guarantee that the story once started must be read; I believe In the Face of Evil meets those criteria.  The memoir became the novel and with the gentle prodding of my mother’s memory and without denying any of the historical truth, combined with hours of research, her past has been revealed as a story resplendent with color and emotion.  I invite you to comment, feedback is so rewarding.

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In the Face of Evil

Today my website went live which is encouraging. My nephew Jeffrey Balbien is a genius and I want to thank him for creating such a beautiful website!
It is interesting to note that the journey of writing a book is first the dedication of putting words to paper (used to be paper now its computer, but paper conjures up better imagery) which in some ways is the easy part. Then comes the marketing and the push to find an audience; after all what good is a book if no one reads it? But, things are looking up. I went from 2 millionth place on Amazon to 90,000th place in one week. Wonder of wonders, that’s quite a climb, however, a long way from the top 100 (my secret goal).
Actually, even harder than getting people to read the book is getting people who have read the book to post a review on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or FriesenPress.com (my publisher). This part perplexes me, as each and every one of them manages to e-mail me or phone me as to how wonderful the book is, how well written it is, how they can’t put it down, how they cried, how it reminded them of their own immigrant families, how the imagery is beautiful, how they can’t believe that I wrote it. Don’t get me wrong I love hearing from everyone. This is especially important for a new author, who suffers from a lack of confidence and; who in some ways can’t quite believe herself that she has accomplished this.
One thing I have discovered for certain is that you have to be tireless in promoting yourself and your art. No one is going to do it for you (unless of course you are a big time successful author with a big time agency behind you). Which I am not, yet!
More than anything I would like to just start the next book and get on with it. Writing is addictive and right now I am going through withdrawals. Nonetheless, this is not the right time to write, but it is the right time to promote “In the Face of Evil”, stay the course, and find that all important audience…

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