Only Yesterday: A Memoir

Only Yesterday: A Memoir

by Fedora Cohn Horowitz


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"Only Yesterday" 1941-1958, is a memoir of my life growing up in Romania during the Holocaust and during the Communist regime Romania. The first part titled "Darkness, My Life during WWII, the Romanian Holocaust, 1941-1945" describes the beginning of the horror and fear of the Jewish population after Romania's enter as an ally of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union and its allies on June 22nd , 1941. Born in Iasi, I was 5 year old when the biggest pogrom took place in my home town, on September 29th 1941 when 10,000 Jews were killed by "Garda de Fier," the Romanian Fascist Party, helped by the city's authorities. The next morning, my father, together with other nine men were taken from our hiding place, to the train station and thrown into what became known as the "Death Trains," slow moving cattle trains where people died because of the lack of air and water. Fortunately, my father was one of the survivors, who was able to tell the world about the suffering, and about the crimes committed against the ones who died.

In August 1944, afraid of the approaching Russian Army, the Romanian Government decided to sign an armistice with the Soviet Union, and turn its Army against its former ally, Germany.
But this didn't mean that the war was over. The revenge of Nazi Germany, their nightly bombardments, shook our improvised shelter, where we took refuge; a shelter in which older people prayed and young children cried.
"A Ray of Sun, a Time of Freedom, 1945-1948" is the title of the second part, when May 9th 1945, signaled the end of the war and we were able to breathe freely.

Those were three years in which optimism prevailed and we were looking forward to a life of freedom and prosperity. I was an only child and my parents wanted to expose me to experiences they had no opportunities for, during their childhood: sports, languages, and above all, piano. Both my parents loved music, my mother played piano, my father played violin, and wanted to instill in me what they loved most. At age eight, my father took me to my first encounter with opera.

Later, during the communist times I was able to appreciate what my parents did for me. But the good times don't last forever. Gray clouds were hanging over our country. And the clouds, this time, appeared from the East. The Soviet Union was marching step by step to fold the Eastern European countries within their influence.
The communists, who infiltrated our country and government, obtained the power after they forced King Mihai to abdicate, on December 30th, 1947.
The third part of the book titled, "Tyranny, Under the Boot of Communism, 1948-1958" describes the dictatorship of the communist regime, the power in the hands of people without scruples, a regime which left its marks on my entire life. I was barely a teenager, when tragedies hit not only my family, but many of our friends' families as well. The music was my salvation, I tried to escape the dangerous times by burying myself in music.
In 1958 after waiting for eight long years to be approved to immigrate to Israel, my family and I received the long awaited post-card announcing our departure.

On December 3rd, in the train taking us to freedom, I took an oath, to never return to communist Romania. Forty years later, after Ceausescu, the most infamous dictator, Romania ever had, had been sentenced to death, I returned to visit my country of birth and together with my friends churn our memories, as we were the fifth column, the silent dissidents, which in spite of the terror we endured, our generation tried to maintain its sense of humor, dignity and hope for a better future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781533465061
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/30/2016
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 810,694
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

I was born in the eve of World War II and lived through the Holocaust in Romania and under the communist regime's continuous terror that followed. The door to freedom opened in 1958 when my parents and I were allowed to immigrate to Israel.

I am a professional pianist who continued my musical career in Israel and later in The United States. My father's premature death triggered me to write, because he was such a marvelous story-teller and I wanted to preserve his memories. Many of my stories tell about life in Romania during WWII and under the communist regime. Other stories deal with a new immigrant's life in Israel, and finally the experiences encountered as a newcomer to the United States.

My award winning short stories were published by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, Florida. My stories BERTHA and THE SAGA OF OUR PASSPORT were published in 2006 and 2010, respectively, in PASSAGER, a literary magazine of the University of Baltimore. In 2011 my story BERTHA was selected for Burning Bright, the Passager special publication celebrating 21 years of existence.

The spark and seed for my first novel, Jaffa Beach, was generated by my thoughts regarding the horrors brought on by hatred leading to wars, as well as the fear and the unfulfilled life of women living in conditions of submission within the families of religious zealots. The music, as a world repair, is my message for peace and understanding.

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