Surviving the Holocaust and Stalin

Being there. . . . to share, nay, empathize and project, literally, figuratively, and imaginatively,
your consciousness as a member of the Marta Seiler family struggling to not only survive the
horrors of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, the death marches, and hard labor camps for Hungarian
Jews, but also the often-murderous persecutions in the immediate aftermath of the 1945
Soviet liberation. Read slowly, ponder in anger but bear patiently in resolution, what it must
have been like to live and endure under the Stalinist regime concealed behind the Iron Curtain.
Appreciate and value the recently re-discovered cache of endearing family letters and exclusive
interviews conducted by author Vanessa Holburn who also translated the letters for the first
time, supplementing them with childhood memories and hitherto unpublished photographs. . .
HOLOCAUST AND AFTER . . . . we, and the young, must be there to witness, lest ever we forget.
In their deeply heartfelt “Forewords”, Laura Marks, OBE Chair, Holocaust Memorial Day
Trust, writes, “As Holocaust survivors are becoming increasingly less able to share their
memories and their experiences of the Holocaust, it is all the more important that memoirs
such as this be written and read. For Marta, it’s important we learn the lessons of the past
before they are lost forever . . .”; Vanessa Rosenthal, author, “Inside Out: A Life in Stages”,
adds, ‘In Surviving the Holocaust and Stalin”, Vanessa Holburn brings us the remarkable story of
survival in one family over three generations, set against some of the most tumultuous events
of the twentieth century. Her sweeping narrative moves from prewar Hungary to 1960s London
and beyond in a span of over seventy years. It is a compelling story in which she highlights, as is
found in other Holocaust survivors’ stories, the ability of the human spirit not only to have the
will to survive, but to go on surviving even after witnessing the worst cruelties and depravities
man could ever inflict on fellow man.
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“SURVIVING THE HOLOCAUST AND STALIN – – The Amazing Story of the Seiler Family”, by
Vanessa Holburn. Pen & Sword HISTORY Books, Dist. by CASEMATE PUBLISHERS: 2023, 207
pages, 6 ½” x 9 ½”, hardcover; $34.95. Visit, and email, Uspen-and-
This book often brings tears, and certainly fearful awareness it can all happen again. How can
it not when read by kind, gentle, caring people? How can the intelligent and well-read not
realize that powerful nations are poised to strike the peaceful?
Exploring themes of resilience, identity, and inherited trauma, by the end of the book we
learn Marta rediscovered her forbidden Jewish identity, found her place within the community
and has moved toward a place of tolerance. In the tradition of oral history, Martha tells her
riveting family story with great warmth, humility, and sad but grateful tears to Vanessa who in
equal love shares it with us.

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