18 2021

Heart Songs: A Holocaust Memoir


Congregation Shaara Tfille 84 Weibel Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 584-2370


Author Barbara Gilford tells the story of the Buchsbaum family’s escape from the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939. The family was fractured by taking different paths as intelligence was not enough to survive and bad decisions could prove fatal. Their stories live in Heart Songs, A Holocaust Memoir, which creates the legacy of love and loss inherited by Ms. Gilford. Grandmother Clara Buchsbaum fled to Italy in 1939 and found refuge in the mountain village of San Donato Val di Comino where the local residents sheltered 28 Jewish refugees. Clara’s many letters to her son, who had escaped to England, reflect her deep love for him and her relentless efforts to obtain a visa to a country beyond Europe’s borders. Photographs and excerpts from Clara’s letters detailing her attempts to emigrate take the reader on Clara’s journey from pre-war Czechoslovakia to her heartbreaking end. In telling the tragic story of the family she never knew, Ms. Gilford explores familial and psychological aspects of the Holocaust while celebrating the fortitude and resiliency of those who died and those who survived. Ms. Gilford was a teacher, psychotherapist, and a journalist who contributed more than 200 articles to The New York Times. She considers the COVID-19 pandemic, while tragic for many, a boon for writers, artists, and those who find, in solitude, an opportunity to grow, deepen, and expand their very “selves.”

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Sponsor: Saratoga Jewish Cultural Festival & Jewish Federation of NENY