I spent the 2nd day of Shavuot (you know—Yom Tov Shaini Shel Galut) reading your amazing book—Silent Letter.
If there was lightning and thunder and the clarion call of the Shofar heralding Matan Torah, the Silent Letter was a thunder bolt which shed some light on human perseverance and determination in the face of brutal inhumanity. Your mother and you and your brother were the sounds of the Shofar declaring that we can and will always endeavor to be Na’Asseh..pro active in our pursuit of life and justice and NISHMA—and that our story of survival beyond human capacity will be continued to be heard as inspiration for future generation.
The letters and words of your story are not silent but they speak volumes about the values of family and of a mother determined to create light despite the horrendous darkness that surrounded her on every level. I was equally inspired to read of the handful of good people who did not forget their humaneness in the midst of the terrifying inhumanity that surrounded them.
Silent Letter–One story reflecting the strength of our People; A story which cannot and must not be Silent.
Dr. Mordecai Zeitz
CONGREGATION BETH TIKVAH AHAVAT SHALOM NUSACH HOARI
By giving a voice to his heroic mother, Mayer has honored not only her memory but her courage and strength. And, more than that, he has given names to those men, women and children who would otherwise be forgotten. Thus does Mayer discharge the moral duty that he took upon himself in writing “Silent Letter.”
~ JONATHAN KIRSCH, publishing attorney and author of “The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan,” is the book editor of the Jewish Journal.
What is the difference between peace, chaos and discord? What happens in a moment in time can alter your life and that of others within seconds. The time it takes to close your eyes, open a window or even place your silverware back on the table is all the time needed to change your entire world. The noise, the fear, the unknown and the knowledge that you have no idea where your life is going or what will happen next. Close your eyes and picture the scene of a woman and her two children home as men dressed in black burst into your home, take your husband and father of your children away never to be seen again. As the story opens you hear the voice of Roszy as Moritz her husband a member of the French Resistance is taken away…
…The epilogue elaborates in detail where each one Jacob, Erwin, David and their mother winds up as a result of her being placed in a prison of her own in an apartment where she had to remain. Will they ever see her again? Their journeys took different paths and Erwin/Yitzchak chose his and to honor his mother and father by letter us all hear her words in a letter that might never be mailed and one which would remain as a Silent Letter revealed within the pages of this heartbreaking and compelling book.
~ Fran Lewis, reviewer Book Pleasures
What the book does brilliantly is chronicle how profoundly war-time France was infected with the Nazi ideology. We see this most pointedly when Roszy has to check in with the French Vichy police to have her papers examined when they arrive in Annemasse, the last stop before the Swiss border. The local official who orders her arrest, she observes, has no more problem shipping people off to their deaths than he would tossing a piece of wood into a fire. The pair of nuns working with him lead her children away with an almost ghoulish satisfaction.
~Peter MacFarlane – read the full text here
His memoir of the period, Silent Letter, is an extraordinary work, rooted in a horrific period of human history but still speaking loudly and clearly to all of us trying to find a way through the still far too dangerous world we inhabit today.