The strangeness of pale Northern skies: here, one can’t call it a blue sky, but a white sky. For three months I’ve seen every sunrise, the sumptuous ones in Ravensbrück, when the sky quickly sweeps away a somber blue as the invading purple strikes brusquely in every direction – perhaps too brusquely. And weeks ago […]

[I am so lucky to have a family that sustains each other with love. Thanksgiving is a time to remember all the things you have to be grateful for, and this year I felt the kind of gratitude that makes me take deep, steadying breaths when I stop to think about all I’ve been given. […]

[The memoir jumps back and forth between times. Even with each chapter clearly dated, it’s hard to determine what my aunt’s writing in the present, and what’s the past. For a person like me who has a tenuous understanding of English grammar, much less all the numerous tenses in French, it’s not easy. It truly […]

[In Georges Huisman’s introduction, I was a little annoyed by how much emphasis he placed on the prisoners maintaining their femininity despite the horrible conditions and treatment. It seemed like a strange thing to tout, and cringe-worthy, like Maurice Chevalier singing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” in the 1958 movie Gigi. Then I read the […]

[In this next chapter, my great aunt Catherine Ammar writes in dedication to those she knew who died at the hands of the Nazis, and to the memory of her husband. Last night I asked my father if anyone ever found out how Raymond Ammar died, but he just shrugged. “Everyone begged him not to […]

On August 3, 1944, my great aunt, Catherine Ammar, was taken by the Gestapo in France for her work in the resistance and transported to Ravensbrück, and then later to Sachsenhausen concentration camp where she was forced to labor, I suspect, for Seimens. After liberation the following year, she joined about 80,000 other POWs marching […]

I’m writing on an iPad. I’ve scrunched my long fingers together on this barely adequate keyboard because my laptop has been in AppleCare since last Thursday. Thursday morning started like any other day here in the mountains – cup of coffee made in a single serve French press, belly rub for Emma, survey of the […]

It snowed last night. Through the window, I see first the snow as it falls, tracing its diagonal path through the grey sky, then each long needle of the ponderosas encased with crystal where the snow lands, then each branch sagging under the weight of the snow, then the snow piled up on the deck […]