After reading Anne Frank’s diary, viewing the movie “Schindler’s List” and watching several documentaries on the Holocaust, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Farmington Hills, MI, and was extremely moved by how the Holocaust not only impacted the Jewish people but greatly impacted entire the world.
I suspect my visit to the museum may have had the same effect on me as it did for author J.L. Witterick’s viewing of a documentary on the Holocaust. The documentary (“The No. 4 Street of Our Lady” 2009) Witterick viewed was about Franciszka Halamaj and her daughter’s heroic efforts to provide a safe haven to Jewish individuals and families, an act punishable by the death sentence. It was so moving that Witterick wrote her inspiring novel about the Holocaust, “My Mother’s Secret“.
This exciting novel tells the story of how Franciszka and her daughter would hide Jewish families and a German soldier in their small home. Their secret to survival is revealed, in part, by their belief that the best way to survive in their world was to be insignificant. Survival also required that they be crafty, such as mixing the excrements of the people she was hiding with the waste of pigs and then shoveling it away. And certainly Franciszka had to think ahead. The daughter said of Franciszka that her mother didn’t play chess but if she did it would be “many moves ahead.”
Witterick is the daughter of Chinese immigrants who came to Canada with $200 dollars in 1968 when she was seven-years-old. At that time, the family was so poor but so committed to education that they would regularly buy used books from the Salvation Army for 5 and 10 cents for Jenny to read.
Witterick is not the usual author as she is the President of Sky Investment Counsel, one of the largest international money managers in Canada. Known as J.L. Witterick among authors she is more commonly known as Jenny Witterick in the investment community.
Jenny was President of the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts in 1995/1996. A former Rhodes Scholar nominee, Jenny holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario. She is also a CFA Charter Holder.
I read an early copy of “My Mother’s Secret” but the author plans to release her first novel for publication during the national observance of Holocaust Week in April 2013.
Anyone who enjoyed “Anne Frank’s Dairy” or “Schindler’s List” will surely also enjoy reading “My Mother’s Secret.” This book provides not only good history but exciting drama.