Quercus has landed 83-year-old Auschwitz survivor Tova Friedman's memoir in a six-figure pre-empt.
Katy Follain, non-fiction publisher at Quercus, pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights in The Daughter of Auschwitz from Adam Gauntlett at PFD. North American rights were pre-empted by Peter Joseph at Hanover Square Press, an imprint of HarperCollins US. It is currently scheduled to be published in autumn 2023.
The book will be co-written by Malcolm Brabant, a veteran award-winning special correspondent with America’s “PBS Newshour”, and a former BBC war reporter.
Friedman, 83, was one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. “Her earliest memories are of sleeping under a table in a tiny flat which she and her family shared with several other Jewish families at the start of the liquidation of the ghetto in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland,” Quercus said. “She was four years old when she was sent to a Nazi labour camp, and then almost six when she was forced into a packed cattle truck and sent to Auschwitz II, better known as the Birkenau extermination camp. Tova and her mother were imprisoned in Auschwitz II, while her father was sent to Dachau. In the six months she was there, she witnessed atrocities that she could and would never forget.
“Against all the odds, she and her mother survived and when the Russians liberated the camp in January 1945, they made their way back to Tomaszow Mazowiecki. Incredibly, their father found his way back to them. But things were far from resolved. All of Tova’s life, she has lived with the memories and the trauma.”
The publisher added: “In The Daughter of Auschwitz, Tova wants to immortalize what she saw, to ensure that those who died are not forgotten. As she says herself, she represents one and a half million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis: they cannot speak, so she must speak on their behalf.”
Friedman (pictured right with her mother) is a therapist and a campaigner against anti-Semitism based in New Jersey.
“I have been telling my story for many years to schoolchildren, to churches, to synagogues and everybody who invited me,” she said. “But this is the first time that I will be able to reach a wider audience, and especially young people who perhaps have never heard of the Holocaust. I also speak for the million and a half children who were murdered by the Nazis. I’m grateful to Malcolm and all our publishers for taking up the challenge. Together we will get out the word together that the deadly result of prejudice and hatred is genocide. It must never happen again.”
Brabant commented: “I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is a life affirming moment for me. I cannot emphasise enough just how honoured I am that Tova has entrusted me to help her tell her incredible story of courage, resilience and survival. I’m aware of the huge responsibility that I now carry to ensure that people who read this book are imbued with the lessons of the Holocaust, at a time when surveys show alarming levels of ignorance about the world’s worst ever crime.”
He added that Follain’s “enthusiasm and passion for this book won me over instantly”.
Follain said: “To be publishing Tova’s words is a huge honour. Her story is heartbreaking and crucially important, especially when we know that one in twenty British adults does not believe the Holocaust happened. That she saw and experienced everything as a little girl permeates every page of this extraordinary book, and makes the reading experience even more chilling. We are proud to be fulfilling what she feels is a survivor’s obligation – to make sure people all around the world never forget. She and Malcolm are a formidable team, and it is wonderful to be part of what promises to be a global publication.”
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