A heart-wrenching story of love and defiance set in the Warsaw Ghetto, based on the actual archives kept by those determined to have their stories survive World War II
On a November day in 1940, Adam Paskow becomes a prisoner in the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Jews of the city are cut off from their former lives and held captive by Nazi guards, and await an uncertain fate. Weeks later, he is approached by a mysterious figure with a surprising request: Will he join a secret group of archivists working to preserve the truth of what is happening inside these walls? Adam agrees and begins taking testimonies from his students, friends, and neighbors. He learns about their childhoods and their daydreams, their passions and their fears, their desperate strategies for safety and survival. The stories form a portrait of endurance in a world where no choices are good ones.
One of the people Adam interviews is his flatmate Sala Wiskoff, who is stoic, determined, and funny—and married with two children. Over the months of their confinement, in the presence of her family, Adam and Sala fall in love. As they desperately carve out intimacy, their relationship feels both impossible and vital, their connection keeping them alive. But when Adam discovers a possible escape from the Ghetto, he is faced with an unbearable choice: Whom can he save, and at what cost?
Inspired by the testimony-gathering project with the code name Oneg Shabbat, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Grodstein draws readers into the lives of people living on the edge. Told with immediacy and heart, We Must Not Think of Ourselves is a piercing story of love, determination, and sacrifice for the many fans of literary World War II fiction such as Kristin Harmel’s The Book of Lost Names and Lauren Fox’s Send for Me.
Lauren Grodstein is the author of Our Short History, The Washington Post Book of the Year The Explanation for Everything, and the New York Times-bestselling A Friend of the Family, among other works. Her stories, essays, and articles have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies, and have been translated into French, German, Chinese, and Italian, among other languages. Her work has also appeared in Elle, The New York Times, Refinery29, Salon.com, Barrelhouse, Post Road, and The Washington Post. She is a professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden, where she teaches in the MFA program in creative writing.
Jeanna Lucci Canapari is a freelance writer in Guilford, CT. Her work has been published in Salon, Creative Nonfiction, and Off Assignment. She is currently working on a memoir about grief, motherhood, and identity in an Italian immigrant family.
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