Miracles Through Hell

A True Story of Holocaust Survival and Intergenerational Healing

Non-Fiction - Historical
232 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2022
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Author Biography

Jerry Elman was born in 1954 in Syracuse, NY. He has lived in the Rochester, NY area for about 50 years. Both his parents were Holocaust survivors. He is a first-generation American. Children of Holocaust survivors have been referred to as second-generation survivors. The emotional impact on the parents carried over to their children. The Holocaust was never discussed. Jerry, like other second-generation survivors, lived most of his life not knowing his parents’ stories or his European roots and family. He did not understand his own emotional issues as he grew up.

His father passed away in 1989, his mother in 2004. Jerry retired in 2021. The desire to know his parent’s story kept nagging at him. At age sixty-seven, he began searching files and documents his parents left behind. He started his research effort. Every piece of information led to other information. He connected with resources at the US Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem in Israel, YIVO, JewishGen, the USC Shoah Project and others.

Jerry successfully found all the information that became the basis for this book. This is his first book as an author. It is a work of love and closure to questions never answered most of his life. Writing this book was a cathartic experience for Jerry.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite

Miracles Through Hell: A True Story of Holocaust Survival and Intergenerational Healing by Jerry M. Elman is a well-researched historical nonfiction book. It contains the true stories of the Holocaust survivors, their traumas, the absolute hell they faced, and the countless miracles that kept them alive. Jerry M. Elman is the child of two Holocaust survivors. He has lived most of his life not knowing his parents' stories as they (like most Holocaust survivors) lived by a "code of silence." His parents never talked about their past because they couldn't let their children know about the horrors of their survival. Thus, most children did not understand their parents' emotional baggage, but they inherited a legacy of trauma transmitted through silence and guilt. In this book, Jerry presents the horrors of the Holocaust and its traumatic consequences.

I've read many books about the Holocaust, but none about the emotional and psychological struggles of the children of Holocaust survivors. Jerry M. Elman's story deeply moved me, and I'm grateful that I had the chance to read his first book, Miracles Through Hell. It's unique and remarkable as it contains details of the emotional scars of Holocaust survivors that were unknowingly passed on to their children. Elman is one of the few who exposes his battle with depression triggered by not knowing the atrocities his parents experienced during the Holocaust. He reminds us that history can repeat itself as the rise of antisemitism, racism, and hatred of immigrants are now becoming new norms, and there are people who still deny the Holocaust. Miracles Through Hell by Jerry M. Elman is an important must-read for us all.