Author to Discuss War Refugee Book

A number of Jews who fled Germany and Austria and the impending Holocaust between 1938 and 1940 later found one another in Los Angeles.

They became a family of sorts, agonizing over the loss of loved ones in Europe and struggling to assimilate into a new nation.

On March 22, author Ruth Wolman will tell the tale of 36 such refugees when she reads from her book "Crossing Over," at a special event sponsored by the Sherman Oaks and Aviva Groups of Hadassah at the Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, 13164 Burbank Blvd., at 10 a.m. The free event was originally scheduled for Sunday.

"Theirs is a story that is much different than most accounts of the Holocaust," Wolman said. "It deserves to be told."

The book deals with a group of refugees who started a cultural group as a way to discuss music and art, and wound up leaning on each other for support and spending holidays together.

Wolman's parents were two of the refugees, but it wasn't until 10 years ago that she got the idea to write the book.

"I realized I knew very little about my parents' lives just before they left Europe and just after they got to Los Angeles," said the 54-year-old psychologist.

"So I began interviewing whomever I could."

The book, which was published last year, served as a springboard to further involvement with groups worldwide searching for answers to the Holocaust. Wolman not only travels speaking about her own work, but also is a member of a Vienna-based organization made up of children of survivors and the children of Nazi soldiers.

The talk will deal with how she came to write the book, why it's different than most Holocaust-related works and her involvement in groups such as the Vienna organization.

For more information, call Hadassah at (818) 783-3488.

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