Contact

ssswartz47@brandeis.edu

Research Areas

Memoir; Post-Holocaust Personal History; Culture Clash; Tolerance

Education

BA, University of Toronto

Sarah Swartz

Sarah Swartz

Sarah Swartz

Sarah Swartz is a publishing professional with over 40 years experience as a writer, book editor, and translator who has produced many award-winning volumes on Jewish topics. 

She received the highest Canadian editing award, the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence. Her work has been published internationally in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Poland. In 2016, she received a Hadassah-Brandeis Research Award for her writing in progress.

In the past decade, Sarah worked as Managing Editor for Hebrew College and as Director of Publications for Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh in Boston. She is developmental editor of numerous books in the Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers series published by Second Story Press, Toronto, as well as editor-in-chief and contributor to the first edition of Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (eds. Paula Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore). She has contributed translations from Yiddish to English to the Berlin Jewish Museum, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization. 

As one of the “student artists” trained in Poland by Handshouse Studio (Norwell, MA), she helped paint portions of the reconstructed ceiling of a 17th century wooden synagogue destroyed by the Nazis. This ceiling was installed in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw in 2014 and remains the Museum’s centerpiece. Its construction was documented in the film Raise the Roof (Trillium Studios, 2015). 

Current Projects

I continue to work on my project, “Old Walls, New Bridges: Stories from a Migrant Daughter,” a creative memoir with multi-layered vignettes weaving back and forth in time. It is based on my own life experiences in Berlin, the United States, Canada, and Poland, and what I recall of my parents’ stories as survivors of the Holocaust. I was born in post-war Berlin, in the shadow of the Second World War. In 1951, we left Berlin for a more secure existence in America. This is a common story for European Jewish refugees who survived the Holocaust; yet ours was a different version. For reasons I explain in my story, my parents and I returned to West Berlin where we resided from 1958 to 1961. From age ten to fourteen, I lived in the epicenter of the Cold War.

     From this experience, I learned some formative lessons about acceptance and co-existence that have had a major impact on my view of the world which I hope to convey in my writing. A child immigrant to the United States, I describe my migratory journey in search of personal identity, lost family history, and the integrated gifts of understanding and forgiveness. Like the thousands of refugees who are uprooted today, I have experienced the search for belonging, social adaptation, and my own reconciliation with the past. Underlying my writing project is a vision for ethnic, racial, and cultural acceptance, mutual respect and empathy. 

Representative Publications

“Memories from the Synagoge Fränkelufer, 1958-2015,” in Kreuzberg Miniaturen (Berlin, Germany: 2016)

From Memory to Transformation: Jewish Women’s Voices (Toronto: Second Story Press, 1998)

Found Treasures: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers (Toronto: Second Story Press, 1994)  

A Partisan’s Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust  (Toronto: Second Story Press, 1995)