Custom Search
CivicLifeSportsSchoolsBusinessFoodOur HomesLetters/OpinionsCalendar

Published February 6th, 2019
Author of debut memoir discusses decades of struggle following Holocaust

The Contra Costa County Library will host author Sylvia Ruth Gutmann as she discusses her debut memoir, "A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan." Born in 1939 Belgium, Sylvia Ruth Gutmann became an orphan at age 3 when her parents were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. Together she and her two older sisters managed to escape to Switzerland and eventually made it to America. Deeply traumatized, Sylvia arrived in New York City at age 7, where a well-meaning uncle and a cruel aunt took her in. "Don't speak of it. Put it behind you. Move on," they told her. The messages she received in America forced her to again keep silent and hide in full view. She spent the next five decades struggling to put the pieces of her life back together and to fully understand the past she was too young to remember.
"A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan" chronicles an odyssey that spans 60 years, three countries, and thousands of miles. Remarkably, at age 62, Gutmann developed a relationship with a young man, 40 years her junior, and against all odds she moved to Germany to live with him. Here she began to share the story of her family's fate with German students, senior citizens, and even neo-Nazi groups. By doing so, Gutmann reconciled with the people she had feared and loathed, and resurrected the lives of the parents she cannot remember, and cannot forget. Heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring, this memoir of loss, love, resilience, belonging, identity, and authenticity has a surprising resolution, told in an intimate voice with candor, substance, and heart.
"I needed five decades to heal from the trauma of being brutally separated from my parents when I was a child," she says. "It's horrifyingly ironic that the current zero-tolerance immigration policy of separating young children from their parents, has made my story even more relevant today."
Gutmann will be speaking at 1 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Orinda Library and at 6 p.m. on that same day at the Walnut Creek Library.
Gutmann is a former spokesperson on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York City. Every year she shares her story at numerous Holocaust remembrance and Wounded Warrior ceremonies organized by the U.S. Military. She has also spoken extensively throughout Europe and was granted honorary German citizenship in 2002 for her peace activism.
For more information, contact Serenity Dean at (925) 646-9900.
Info: https://sylviaruthgutmann.com/

print story

Before you print this article, please remember that it will remain in our archive for you to visit anytime.
download pdf
(use the pdf document for best printing results!)
Send your comment to:
Reach the reporter at:

This article was published on Page B5:

Quick Links for LamorindaWeekly.com
send artwork to:
Classified ads
Lamorinda Service Directory
About us and How to Contact us
Letter to the Editor
Send stories or ideas to:
Send sports stories and photos to:
Subscribe to receive a delivered or mailed copy
Subscribe to receive storylinks by email
Our Homes
Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA