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Hadda, J. (2007). My Mother's Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl: By Anna Ornstein Illustrations by Stuart Goldman. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 2(4):483-486.

(2007). International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 2(4):483-486

Review Essay

My Mother's Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl: By Anna Ornstein Illustrations by Stuart Goldman

Review by:
Janet Hadda, Ph.D.

You really can't tell this book by its cover. A small volume, about five inches by seven, and a scant half inch thick, it's almost a miniature. But open it and you will encounter: an expansive mind, a generous heart, a capacious spirit, and a story as big as life.

Anna Ornstein, psychoanalyst, self-psychologist, immigrant, and Holocaust survivor, began her life in Szendro, a little village in Hungary, not far from the Czech border. Although the village could be considered backward—no running water, no electricity, no paved roads—Anna Brünn was born into a cultured and affluent family. Although there was no record player in the home, her parents hummed operatic arias, read widely, and oriented their minds toward Vienna. Anna was the beloved youngest child, with two older brothers who doted on her and whom she adored.

But that existence, marked by a rich combination of intellectual pursuits, fulfilling Jewish observance, and carefree days around the village, was to end decisively, if not exactly abruptly. Starting in the late 1930s, when Anna was only entering adolescence, news began reaching the village that European Jews were in danger of their lives. The Nazis entered Hungary late—in 1944—but they managed to destroy Anna's home and family. My Mother's Eyes tells the story of life before, during, and after this devastating period.

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