Friday, April 29, 2011


Sala: More than Just A Survivor
Author Marsha Casper Cook
Told by Sala

interview on blog talk radio - SALA

Reviewer - Fran Lewis
The Holocaust really did happen. The atrocities inflicted on the Jewish people by the Gestapo are beyond words and should never be forgiven nor forgotten. Imagine going on an errand for your mother and coming back to find that no one is there and your house is boarded up. Added to that your own family will not take you in forcing you to live on the street and eat the scraps of food that they might give you as long as you stay outside. Dora and her sister Sala survived the unthinkable tortures, indignities and horrors that befell them and many others at the hand of these monsters. Dora entered a work camp doing as she was told in order to survive. Making sure she protected as many girls as possible she even performed deeds that repulsed her and would be embedded in her mind forever. Then, her sister Sala arrived and together they banned together to make sure they were never separated again no matter what it took. When the Germans finally realized they lost the war and they were freed would their lives be any better? This brings me to my review of a book that reminds us that 6 million Jewish people were killed, burned and cremated by these less than human beings just because they were Jewish.

With a grandmother that endured many of what is recounted in this story and aunts that met their fates at the hands of the Polish during the Pogrom, author Marsha Casper Cook brings everyone included this reviewer back to a time that we must never forget.

As the war ended the two sisters traveled to Gosla and were put up in a hotel. Registering with the Red Cross they hoped to find their missing brothers where Dora met Irving. But, the war of weapons might have been over, and the captives freed, but the hate that lingered behind would fester like a pain that would not subside for a very long time.

Dora married Irving and to please her sister Sala married his friend Ben. With her dreams to go to America and become an actress or a singer, Sala decided to honor her family rather than forge ahead with her own life's plan. But, there is much more. Sometimes when we try to please others we wind up hurting ourselves. Stuck in a loveless marriage with a husband who seems oblivious to her needs or wants, Sala learns some hard lessons in life. Becoming pregnant, feeling all alone except for her sister Dora and her husband Irving Sala has a beautiful daughter only to learn that she has contracted TB and must be sent to a sanitarium until she is well leaving her child in her sister's care.

Surviving the camps, the hardships and a loveless marriage, Sala, Evelyn and even Ben travel to America to make a new life. With Dora and Irving in Chicago she and Ben went to live in Detroit hoping to repair their lives but that was not meant to be. When they finally parted A Sala met Rita on a really hot day at the beach and they became fast friends and that is when her real life begins. The friendship of one friend that is honest and loyal is often more precious than all the money in the world. Such a bond was formed between Rita and Sala as she finally forged ahead with her modeling career and hopefully fulfilling her dreams. But, she loved her career but her daughter more and the move to Chicago to be with her family would be life changing and more.

This is a story of love, survival, loyalty and the courage of two women who would never give up on life or each other. Dora, like a second mother to her who always guided her in the right direction. Sala, the girl with the hopes and dreams and a heart of gold who only wanted to be a success and find her way in this world.

As the author takes us on the journey of her life from the camps, to Chicago, Detroit, Ohio and back to the beginning in Chicago, we relive with Sala the many happy, sad and difficult times she experienced. An accidental meeting at a gathering would change the course of her life and bring her the true love she so rightly deserved. Modeling, runways, traveling and enjoying life could never take the place of her real love, her daughter, her husband Jerry who provided the encouragement she needed to pursue her career and become the loving wife she was.

Sala is a strong woman, outspoken and no holds barred woman who would not let anything or anyone set her back from what really mattered to her. But, wherever she lived no matter who was in her life, she remembered her roots, her sister, Dora her visions of her mom were projected through her. Never let it be said that anything would get her down.

Read about her life. Listen to her voice as she tells you her story from beginning until the present. Learn about what a true Holocaust survivor went through and know that it really did happen. Read about her life with Jerry her 2 children that loved her dearly and an ending that says it all as her son Cort puts it all into perspective for the reader.

Thank you for giving me the honor of reviewing this outstanding novel and for being able to let the world hear Sala's voice and remember that it is not what race, religion or creed that makes you a person it is who you are inside and how you treat others with love , understanding and kindness. The Holocaust and the horrors will always be in the forefront for her, for those of us with family and friends who experienced it. Thank you Sala for sharing your story.

This book should be in the Holocaust Museum's bookstore, the Jewish Museum's bookstore and in the Jewish and History Section of bookstores and libraries.