“Imprint: Holocaust Trauma in the Third Generation” by Claire Sicherman— Breaking the Silence

Sicherman, Claire. “Imprint: Holocaust Trauma in the Third Generation”, Caitlin Press, 2017.

Breaking the Silence

Amos Lassen

I cannot imagine a bigger trauma than the Holocaust and it is just during the last few years that people have begun to speak openly about what they suffered during the darkest period in world history. It is hard for anyone who did not go through it to imagine what it was like and at this period in history, the last survivors are leaving the world. If we do not hear their stories now, they will be gone forever. “Imprint” is one such story. It is a deep and

courageous exploration of trauma, family, and the importance of breaking silence and telling stories. This is a fresh and startling combination of history and personal revelation. 

When her son almost died at birth and her grandmother passed away, something inside of Claire Sicherman changed. Her body, which had always felt weighed down by some unknown pain, began to suffer from chronic health conditions, and her heart broke. She was consumed by grief that seemed to encompass more than her own lifetime, and she became determined to find out why. 

Even though author Claire Sicherman grew up reading about Anne Frank and seeing the classic “Schindler’s List”, she had almost no knowledge of the Holocaust and its impact on her family. Though Most of her ancestors were murdered in the Holocaust, yet her grandparents didn’t talk about their trauma and her mother grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia never knowing that she was even Jewish. Through vignettes, epistolary style, and other unconventional forms, Sicherman explores the intergenerational transmission of trauma and that genes can be altered and carry memories, which are then passed down as a kind of genetic imprinting. Here her story that gives honor to her

ancestors and at the same time offers the truth to the next generation and her now nine-year-old son. This is a testimony of the connections between mind and body and the past and the present and is a love story as well as one of survival.

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