Eleanor Reissa

Yiddish Book Center: Recorded Live

The Letters Project: A Daughter’s Journey, with Eleanor Reissa

In 1986, when her mother died at the age of sixty-four, Eleanor Reissa went through all of her belongings. In the back of her mother’s lingerie drawer, she found an old leather purse with a wad of dried up papers in a brittle baggie: fifty-six letters, handwritten in German by her father, in 1949 – only four years after Auschwitz – to her mother, also a refugee, already living in the United States.

Forty years later, Eleanor finally had the letters translated.

With her father’s letters as her silent guide, Eleanor goes on a journey down the River of Time, unearthing the unknowable – about her family’s past, about the Holocaust, and about her own present.

Presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2022 Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish.

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