From Things Lost: Letters from the Holocaust
Chair: Jenni Frazer
Shirli Gilbert’s book From Things Lost is a narrative of displacement, survival, and an unlikely friendship in the wake of the Holocaust, via an astonishing collection of over 2,000 letters discovered in a forgotten trunk in Johannesburg.
Ambassador Yitzchak Mayer’s lyrical autobiographical novel Silent Letter recounts an unforgettable chapter in history with powerful contemporary relevance. It is the story of a Jewish family's life on the run in Nazi-occupied France. It is a tribute to his heroic mother, heavily pregnant with her two young sons in tow, who, after her husband has been taken by the Gestapo, boards a train to Saint-Claude on the Swiss border, carrying false documents and diamonds embedded in laundry soap.
Shirli Gilbert is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Southampton, and a specialist in modern Jewish history with a focus on the Holocaust. Her book Music in the Holocaust examines the role of music in the Nazi ghettos and camps; it formed the basis of the educational website, Music and the Holocaust, a documentary feature on BBC Radio 3 and a concert at London's Wigmore Hall. Her recent research explores the ways in which the Holocaust shaped understandings of and responses to apartheid in South Africa.
Yitzchak Mayer has served as director of the Yemin Orde Youth Village and as Israeli ambassador to Belgium and Switzerland. He is senior adviser to the Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College and writes on social and political matters for the Israeli press
Jenni Frazer’s award-winning career in journalism has spanned over 30 years, during which she has performed nearly every kind of role, from news reporter to bureau chief, from editing and commissioning to running a team of reporters. She has interviewed many major celebrities and been a media commentator on UK radio and TV, including News 24 and The World Tonight for the BBC.