NEVER TELL YOUR NAME is a memoir describing my life in hiding during World War II. I was five and half years old; it was near the end of the War in 1944. My Jewish parents were afraid they would not survive, but felt that they could save me by sending me away to an obscure French village where a remarkable Catholic Nun, Soeur St Cybard, offered to take me in.
I wrote this book to acknowledge my life as a small girl, to pay homage to the courage of Soeur St.Cybard, and to remember the many decent acts of ordinary people that allowed me to survive the darkest of times. It is a powerful tale juxtaposing the cruelty of war, a little girl’s resilient spirit, and the random good fortune that prevailed when life was at its most chaotic and unpredictably dangerous.
Apart from these intents, I also wanted to show how differently a young child experiences big events that are commonly viewed as fearfully traumatic. My years of working with children while a school psychologist made me particularly aware of the unique abilities of children to distance themselves from such dangers by adaptations that are both strengthening and damaging. I had been writing case-studies of wounded children that were referred by teachers and parents throughout my career, and it became evident that finally I would have to write my own with the encouragement of the members in my writing workshop.
Within two years of publication, the book took on a life of its own as it was translated into French and subsequently published in France and where I was invited to do a book tour with all the privileges given to an esteemed author. Later, it was made into a play and performed at small theaters and high schools in the Charente where the events had occurred sixty years earlier.
More stories unfolded as these surprising outcomes took place. More tales to be told!