In the Face of Evil: Based on the Life of Dina Frydman Balbien

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Overview

Ten-year-old Dina Frydman lives a comfortable middle class life with her family in Radom, Poland in the summer of 1939, just weeks before the Nazi invasion. The love of family and friends offer no protection against the menace of the Nazi regime that begins to siphon off the worldly and spiritual goods of Radom's Jews. We witness Dina's battle to survive and understand the deadly apocalypse that transforms her from an innocent child to a teenage/adult. When her family is deported and murdered at Treblinka she ...
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In the Face of Evil: Based on the Life of Dina Frydman Balbien

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Overview

Ten-year-old Dina Frydman lives a comfortable middle class life with her family in Radom, Poland in the summer of 1939, just weeks before the Nazi invasion. The love of family and friends offer no protection against the menace of the Nazi regime that begins to siphon off the worldly and spiritual goods of Radom's Jews. We witness Dina's battle to survive and understand the deadly apocalypse that transforms her from an innocent child to a teenage/adult. When her family is deported and murdered at Treblinka she finds safety at a forced labor facility where she experiences her first taste of love when she at thirteen meets Natek Korman, a passionate sixteen year old who rekindles her will to live. Forced by the Nazis to separate, the young lovers vow to find each other after the war. From work camps to death camps, Dina survives against all odds. The aftermath of six years of death and destruction presents a new obstacle, how to live? With the war over Dina travels from a German castle to a DP facility and finally a school for orphans as she struggles to reclaim her life. In 1945, she is reunited with Natek Korman only to face the most important decision of her life. She chooses to follow her dream.

In the Face of Evil is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the tenacious endurance of love and the resilience of the human spirit. It is an epic journey through the nightmare of the Holocaust-the single most defining moment in modern history, as told through the eyes of a young girl.

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Editorial Reviews

Sandy Bloomberg
"In the Face of Evil, is a skillfully woven tapestry of heart-wrenching memories of the Holocaust. It is the powerful, true story of a beautiful and brave survivor.

Tema merback writes with such vivid descriptions, one can see, smell, and hear the horrors of the darkest time in Jewish history.

A must read for everyone, Jewish or not.
Lester H. Wurtele
Tema Merback's "In the Face of Evil" is as good a narrative of the Holocaust as I have read and I have read many. Dealing with the true life experience of her mother and told in the first person, Tema has written an absolutely captivating account. Why this story has not gotten major reviews and wider circulation is beyond comprehension. It should be required reading for all high school students.
Kaira Rouda
I was completely absorbed in this detailed, vivid account of survival and ultimate redemption in the face of pure evil. Dina's story, as told by her daughter, grabbed me from the beginning and had me turning pages long into the night.
We've read Holocaust survivor tales before - I hope. But this is a testament to a young girl's tenactiy, to the ultimate humanity found in the mundane, to luck, to timing and to the incomprehensible evil details of profound, unexplainable hatred. (more)
Lori Gray
This is one of the most compelling books I’ve read in years; in fact I stayed up an entire night so fascinated and intrigued by one woman’s story! I am recommending this book to everyone I know. Tema Merback is a brilliant writer and I look forward to reading more from this author.
texas trenado
This book is simply the best story of someone who lived through the holocaust I have ever read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770670808
  • Publisher: FriesenPress
  • Publication date: 12/2/2010
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

I always knew that one day I would write and publish a novel, the question was never if but rather what and when. However,for some reason I was not prepared to tackle the one story that was personal, the one that threatened perilously near my heart. Creating the story of my mother’s survival of the Holocaust seemed a journey through Hell and one that might prove to be too painful to revisit. Then it struck me, what if the memoir became a novel written in the present, in the voice of my mother as it occurred. The journey would become one of hope, a passage from ashes to redemption. A novel of an adolescent transformed into womanhood set against the background of world conflagration. “In the Face of Evil” was born.
I was born in 1953 in Los Angeles, CA to a Holocaust survivor, Dina Frydman from Radom, Poland and Leo Balbien who was rescued by the Kindertransport from Vienna, Austria. I was raised in a loving home by two people whose lives had been shattered by the Holocaust, though in entirely different ways. Naturally, this ever present darkness shrouded my world. I attended Granada Hills High School, worked countless jobs, and became a Kathryn McBride Scholar at Bryn Mawr College following my passion for literature and art history. In Philadelphia I met and married my husband. In the following years my two children would gain the light of day and consume the energy of my life. Any desire to write would be deferred by the demands of child rearing.
The aging of a parent, especially one that harbors an unimaginable memory of the unspeakable bears its own psychological burden. The sharing of those memories left an indelible impression of the events and the people, the beauty of life before September 1st 1939 and the degradation and destruction of the following six years. During those six years my mother a child of ten was forced into adulthood. Her childhood was eradicated, her future forever altered.
Through the years, several writers have approached my mother desirous to tell her miraculous tale of survival. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had long ago determined that only I could bring this book to fruition, only I would write it with an intimacy and compassion that no one else could better elucidate. This book is the result of a collaboration of two forever bound souls, a mother and a daughter.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Scintillating. I couldn't put it down. I started reading her b

    Scintillating. I couldn't put it down. I started reading her book in the early evening and read all night. I couldn't put it down. Tema is brilliant writer. This book is a must read about the holocaust.

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  • Posted February 11, 2012

    Riveting!

    What a poignant, powerful and personal account of what a young girl went through during the horror of the Holocaust! It's a story detailing what NO human being should have ever had to go through, let alone a young girl! It's a clear picture of the depravity of "civilized" humanity! There, but by the grace of G-d, go I!

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Absolutely could not put it down!

    My mother is a holocaust survivor and I read everything I can get my hands on about the subject. Merback's description and portrayal of the horrific events of the holocaust as she recounts the story of her mother, Dina is so vivid a real, truly one of the best I've read. This is such an important story and her beautiful voice just draws you in and captures a time that can never be forgotten. Courageous and moving.

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    Want to read a miraculous story of survival you will NEVER forget?

    First I would like to say that Tema Merback, the writer of IN THE FACE OF EVIL has an impecible way with words as she write so beautifuly and detailed. As I was reading this book, I could picture the exact scene in my head. Imaginging the changing of the seasons as she describes in the beginning of the book what it was like for Dina Friedman (the Holocaust survivor) living in beautiful Poland, and how the meaning of these seasons change as the war progresses and matastises. I immediately fell in love with Dina and felt attached to her family, to later find out the tragedy of what happened to them, it broke my heart. I LEARNED A TREMENDOUS amount, not only about events that occured during WWII, but also the history of the Jewish people and their culture and customs. I found this to be extermely helpful in understanding the perspective of the Jewish people suffering from war. IN THE FACE OF EVIL had me up until the wee hours of the night, unable to put this book down! There were times when I found myself holding onto my pillow, taking in a huge breath before I went on to read the next paragraph. I cried, I laughed, I loved, I felt like I was living through this horrific time in history persevering right there with Dina. A truely MIRACULOUS STORY OF ONE UNBELIEVABLY STRONG WOMAN. Thank you Tema, for taking your mother's story and sharing it with the world. I think this book should be a MANDOATORY read for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!! Happy reading.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Don't Miss This One!

    Of all the Holocaust books I've read I've yet to find such an unadulterated and pure accounting of the evil that was responsible for the death of 6 million Jews. The reason for this clear telling of this Holocaust Survivor story is that it is told by the Survivor's daughter, Tema Merback. Tema's retelling of her mother, Dina's, story clearly displays the human spirit's fight to survive and the desire of one a young girl to live.


    It is wondrous how she managed to survive the ghetto and the precarious situations 14yo Dina got herself into. She escaped death on a number of occasions only to withstand the malevolence of the brutal camps.

    Merback's exquisite writing transports you into the human atrocity which few survived. You become so enraptured that you forget that this is a story of a Survivor and not another victim. Fortunately, Dina did survived to tell her remarkable story of triumph in the Face of Evil.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    MUST READ - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    This is a must-read; not only because of the historical perspective on the holocaust, it is simply an incredibly uplifting story which left me feeling inspired and eager to read more from this author. I literally stayed up an entire night reading and could not put this book down . I am recommending this book to everyone I know. This is a great read for book clubs and should be on recommended book lists for high school/college students as well.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    A poignant tale of loss and survival

    Tema Merback has successfully put her readers into the dark past in retelling her mother's horrifying tale of love, loss and survival at the hands of the Nazis during World War II in Poland. It is an all too familiar story, but one made personal by Merback's deft storytelling and Dina's compelling saga - a loving family from which she is the lone survivor and her amazing will to live. This is a must-read for young adults who are distanced by another generation from the Holocaust and must never forget.

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    Everyone should read this book!

    I was deeply moved by this book. Tema's mother Dina exemplified all of the best human qualities. Subjected to horific atrocities in which her family was exterminated Dina displayed so much courage in the face of overwelming odds. That a teenager could survive subhuman conditions such as slave labor, starvation, beatings, and the murder of almost everyone she loved is a testement to her iron will to survive. This story must never be forgotten. This book changed my life and filled me with with sadness, anger, hope and gratitude. Thank you for this amazing book Tema and Dina...God Bless You....Gary

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    AWESOME STORYTELLING OF REAL LIFE HORROR

    I have just finished In the Face of Evil. For two straight days, Tema Merback's recount of her mother's nightmare enveloped me. I was spellbound. Riveted. Completely transformed by Dina's tragedies and triumphs. The first 65 pages made me fall in love with her family, their lives and neighborly ways, their success, their Jewishness. The remaining 200 made me ache for her losses. The accounting of it all was stunningly described. The ten to sixteen year old perspective was irresistible.

    I am soo excited and proud of this book. One can only imagine a daughter and mother's journey, together, in creating this must read, must tell novel. Her family story will never die, and the experience of this young girl - as told through her eyes, now by the words of her daughter - will be etched into the reader's soul like the Nazi tattoo on her arm.

    As an audience member who believed herself familiar with the facts in this book, I noticed that the entire time I was pouring through the pages (as fast as my wiped away tears would permit), that my "tush" was hanging off of the edge of my seat! I also noticed how Tema Merback found a perfect way to achieve a candid symmetry between the bitter and the sweet of her mother's plight during World War II.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    In the Face of Evil

    Tema Merback is a sensational writer...the descriptions are extraordinarily haunting and the chapters just flow! It should be made into a film!

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    higly recommend it

    this is the best book i have read in years it was lent to me by Mrs.Balbien i learned to appreciate her she is a wonderful woman and she has a very talented daughter i highly recommend this book every single one of its words make you feel like you are standing in the middle of everything. buy it you wont regret it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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