Some urban areas can inspire literary careers. Lizzie Doron, born in Tel Aviv in 1953, was raised in that city’s Bitzaron neighborhood, where traumatized Holocaust survivors lived in a “kind of refugee camp,” speaking a macaronic blend of languages in which Yiddish featured prominently. When at age six, Lizzie and her friends were sent to school and a friendly teacher spoke to them in hitherto-unheard Hebrew, the entire class burst into tears.
This generation of children confronted a wall of silence about their parents’ wartime sufferings, whence the title of Doron’s latest autobiographical novel, “My Mother’s Silence,” out last fall from Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, translated by Mirjam Pressler, an author of note in her own right and the translator into German of Uri Orlev, Amos Oz and many others.
Doron’s mother, a German-speaking Polish Jew, was not naturally taciturn; she boycotted synagogues but regularly went into Tel Aviv churches to scream imprecations at God in Yiddish for not saving the Jews during the Holocaust. On one subject, however, she did keep mum.