Under the Same Roof: My Life as the Son of Holocaust Resisters

Under the Same Roof: My Life as the Son of Holocaust Resisters

by Mark Henry Kinn

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Dr. Mark Henry Kinn grew up both searching for and running from his parents' tragic past. How do you live through a trauma that isn't even your own? How does a child live with the poignancy and sadness of a generation, following him to school, to work, and out into a world that doesn't understand? Kinn's mother, Sonia, evaded the Nazis by hiding in the forest, but she never forgot her murdered family. His father, Phil, joined the Russian resistance, but sneaked back into the ghetto to find his father and sisters. Sonia and Phil met in 1944 when both joined a secret caravan of Jews escaping from Eastern Europe; both were struggling to move past the memory of extreme brutality and overwhelming loss. As Dr. Kinn explains, "My sister and I were left with an apocalyptic sense that our parents' world had been uprooted, killed, destroyed. They thought they were hiding their past, protecting us from the Holocaust and its atrocities, but this made it worse. They rarely spoke about the Holocaust during our childhood yet it was there every day, in everything, omnipresent but never acknowledged, never explained." In stories pieced together from early childhood to adulthood, "Under the Same Roof" sensitively illustrates the impact of the Holocaust on second-generation survivors. "You kids have Holocaust on the brain," Kinn's mother would say when he asked her about her experience in the woods or his father's time in the resistance. This gentle and subtle memoir follows Mark Henry Kinn from a childhood full of secrets and unexpressed feelings (afraid of upsetting parents who had "been through so much") to an adulthood of trying both consciously and unconsciously, to heal his parents' pain by becoming a doctor. "Under the Same Roof" is about the consequences of unimaginable horror. It's about the struggle to discover an identity apart from an all-encompassing legacy of fear, anger, guilt and sadness. Told with great love for his heroic parents and a wish for a better life in the face of an inescapable past, "Under the Same Roof" is an insightful illustration of the consequences of intergenerational trauma.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781483598581
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 05/22/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 284
Sales rank: 435,784
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Mark Henry Kinn was born in Brooklyn, New York, just five years after the end of WWII. As a child of survivors of the Holocaust, he was raised in the psychological aftermath of brutality and loss.

Like many children of survivors, he sought a context for his parents’ horrific experience and the existential threat of the atrocities they survived. "Under the Same Roof" was written as both a catharsis and a way of honoring his parents’ strength. He describes his father as “an archetypal Jew, a devout warrior who blew up enemy railroads and killed Nazi soldiers.”

Believing fate drew him “back to the land of bedlam and blood,” he studied medicine in Europe, at L’Université Catholique de Louvain, before returning to New York City, where he received his medical degree from New York University. He practiced medicine for twenty-five years and retired in 2005, a respected and compassionate physician.
Dr. Kinn lives in New York City with his wife, artist Hannah Kinn. He writes and speaks about his experience as a second-generation survivor.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue xi

1 Skeletons 1

2 "Soma's Info Exchange" 11

3 Yeshiva 25

4 Louvain 41

5 Erika 59

6 Sabbatical 69

7 Le Premier Doctorat 75

8 New York University 81

9 The Frostbite Room and Other Cases 93

10 Dr. Kinn 101

11 Carol 111

12 My Parents' Histories

Sonia 119

Phil 128

13 Ted 145

14 Hannah 175

15 My Parents' Postwar History 197

My Parents Meet Each Other 205

Abram Litwin 210

Miscarriage 213

16 Sarah 219

17 My Father's Butcher Store 235

18 Ohav Shalom 249

19 The Iwje Memorial Meeting 255

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