Michael Joseph signs Kacenberg's 'unique' Holocaust memoir

Michael Joseph signs Kacenberg's 'unique' Holocaust memoir

Penguin Michael Joseph has signed a “unique” Holocaust memoir about the unlikely friendship between a young Jewish girl and a stray cat by Mala Kacenberg.

Commissioning editor Ariel Pakier acquired world rights for Mala’s Cat from CIS Publishers. Mala’s Cat will publish in hardback on 20th January 2022 ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The publisher said: “After losing her entire family, 12-year-old Mala lives alone in the forests of Poland. Her cat becomes her protector, guide, family, and witness to unspeakable horrors. After the cat saves her life on several occasions, Mala begins to believe the cat is her guardian angel. Sustained by the stories of bravery Mala learned in her grandfather's religious school classroom, and the confidence of having an angel by her side, this book has a unique spiritual richness.”

Kacenberg was born in Tarnogrod, Poland, in 1927. The sole survivor of her family, she moved to London with other Jewish refugees after the war, where she raised a large family and ran a small bed and breakfast. She is survived by her children who wanted to ensure as many people as possible would have the chance to read their mother’s story. The book was previously published 25 years ago and titled Alone in the Forest.

Frances Geller, her daughter, said: “We are so delighted that our mother’s incredible story of her unique and brave survival is being republished. It was her fervent wish that the horrors of the Holocaust, resulting in her entire world vanishing, never be denied or forgotten. Often, through her tears, our mother would try to relate to us how her wonderful, loving childhood was torn away; how, as a mere child, she had to fight for her life, using the tools and strengths she was given by her dear parents. Until its publication, we never had anything tangible to hold onto and we feel that this book is not just a legacy for our family but indeed for the entire world.”

Pakier commented: “I am so honoured to be publishing this rediscovered Holocaust memoir, giving Mala’s moving story a new life and readership. Mala’s Cat reminds us all that we carry the love of our family and friends with us, that we are braver and stronger than we can ever imagine, and that even when all feels lost, to never lose hope. After this last year, these were exactly the lessons I needed reminding of. This is a story that will stay with you.”

Lucy Beresford-Knox, head of translation rights, added: “We’re so proud to be representing Mala’s unique and deeply moving story, which we knew would resonate internationally too. We’re delighted to have sold Mala’s Cat in 10 territories so far, and hope to find many more as we watch this remarkable memoir reach readers around the world.”