פרונט_קאוור

Threshold of Pain is a collection of stories written by Vera Meisels, a Holocaust survivor who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1936. A few years after the outbreak of World War II, when the first “Aktion” took place in her village, she and her family fled their home to the forest. For two years, they survived the harsh climate and poor sanitary conditions, living with extreme hunger. Ultimately Wehrmacht soldiers caught and ordered the family to join other Jews in preparation for their resettlement. Vera’s father was sent to a labor camp, and she, her mother and sister were put on a train to Auschwitz.

 

 

Fate or fortune intervened, and the train was redirected from the defunct death camp to ghetto Terezin. Vera’s immediate family all survived and reunited after the war. In 1949, Vera immigrated to Israel with “Aliyat Ha-noar,” a Zionist movement.

 

 

These experiential stories describe difficult memories from the Holocaust, as perceived by an 8-year-old girl; some depict life after the war and its traumatic influence. The stories constitute a dialogue between Vera the child and Vera the woman, intertwining with each other, jumping between times of “then” and “now.”

 

 

From the stories, we learn about the coping mechanisms experienced by Holocaust survivors; the struggle of every individual in the surviving family, and its influence on the family dynamics, we are exposed to the dialogue of the survivors with children – now second and third generation of the holocaust, we witness the difficulties experienced in acclimatizing to a new continent and the attempt to integrate into Israeli society, while coping with the contempt of the native sabras, who at that time perceived the survivors as weak and “Tson la Tevah (led to slaughter).” They had no interest in hearing about the Holocaust.

 

 

Vera’s struggle with the Holocaust shows up in her intense preoccupation, some say obsessive, with the events of the past. She tries to search for the truth but her memory repeatedly misleads her and it is sometimes hard for her to distinguish between dream and reality.

 

 

She often traveled to places where she had been before and during the war, to search and speak with key people who had appeared in her life at that time. To this day she does not stop recreating, commemorating, and perpetuating her Holocaust experience.

 

 

Vera, like many others, survived the Holocaust, its mark forever left on her; but her path continues—she will not let the Holocaust defeat her spirit.

 

 

CV:

Vera has lived in Tel Aviv since 1961. She has two children and four grandchildren. She engages in translation, sculpting and writing.

 

 

She studied sculpting at the Avni Institute. The sculpture “Muselmann”, which she created at the end of the war, was accepted to the Yad Vashem Art Collection in Jerusalem.

 

 

Her poems were published in “Bulletin 77” and in the daily Ma’ariv, Kol Kol, and in Amir Orian’s online weekly – The Heder Theater. A selection of her poems was published in 1992, in the Romanian magazine ROMBOID and in the quarter for the ELAN literature in Prague.

 

 

The song “The 81st Blow” was published in 1999 in the Journal of Genocide Research.

 

 

Her short stories were published in various anthologies in Israel and abroad.

 

 

Her song file appears on Holocaust Education – Poetry, Canada:  www.womenandtheholocaust.com

 

 

Books:

“Searching for Relatives”, Gvanim Publishing, 1997

Svetluska v Terezine, Czech, 2001 G & G Publishing, Prague, Czech Republicתמונת פנים ורה

Terezin’s Firefly “in English, 2001 G & G Publishing, Prague, Czech Republic

2005 “Moje vytrhnute korene” SNM Publishing, Bratislava, Slovakia

SOS KAVE “Elmeseletlen noiortenetetek – SALTY COFFEE”,

In Hungarian and English 2007 German 2009 by NOVELLA Publishing, Budapest, Hungary.