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After Long Silence

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  1,355 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
"To this day, I don't even know what my mother's real name is."

Helen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic. It wasn't until she was an adult, practicing law in Boston, that she discovered her parents were Jewish--Holocaust survivors living invented lives. Not even their names were their own. In this powerful memoir, Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her fami
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ebook, 368 pages
Published August 10th 2011 by Delta (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,910)
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Charlie
Feb 18, 2014 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen and Lara Fremont were raised as Roman Catholics ----- really? Their mom and dad lived in Poland during WW11 and came to America shortly after the war. Simple story? COMPLICATED !!!
During their childhood days the sisters started to have questions about who they were - who are our parents? Things were not making sense when confronting the parents about their past. Helen was determend to figure it ALL out one way or another.
This story, a memoir, has twists and turns that are mind boggling. I
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Nick
Aug 26, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely stunning story. The authors quest to understand her family's story & history takes everyone on an incredible journey. What her parents went through, and how they survived is shocking. And the secrets they kept for 50+ years are even more unbelievable. Anyone with an interest in genealogy or the horrors of WWII should read this. In fact, this book should be purchased and sit on your bookshelf along side of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' & 'Night', because this story is as profoun ...more
Jan
Feb 06, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Helen and her sister Lara had always known there were things their parents wouldn't discuss about their past. Their parents barely escaped WWII Europe with their lives -- their mother from Poland, and their father from grueling years in a Siberian gulag.

Years later, raised as Polish Catholics in the U.S., Helen and Lara start to ask more questions about their parents' experiences in Europe during the war. The parents' cheerful but persistent subject-changing makes the girls wonder what is being
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Shaindel
Dec 23, 2007 Shaindel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nonfiction/Holocaust/Jewish
This may be the first memoir I've ever made it through because I'm NOT a fan of nonfiction. (If life were so interesting, why would we need to make stuff up?). I read this book b/c Helen Fremont is a friend of a friend and was a guest writer giving a reading at the community college where I taught at the time. This book is a beautifully told story paralelling Fremont's discovery that her family was covering up their Jewish identity after the Holocaust, which prompts her to come out of the closet ...more
Alison
Mar 03, 2016 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I wish I could rate this 4.5. I devoured this book. I'm not usually one to stay up all night reading, but I almost did it with this one (early meetings are the only thing that stopped me). Part of it was Fremont's subject-matter: finding out as an adult that her family history is not at all what she thought it was. But a lot of my praise for this book comes from Fremont's writing style, which blends her own stories of finding out about her family history, to narratives about her parents themselv ...more
John McKelvie
Jun 05, 2010 John McKelvie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daughters research their Jewish history after learning that parents hid their identity to escape the holocaust and Soviets. Juxtaposes the daughters' lives with the horrors of their parents' lives. Though the book doesn't fully explore the issue, the author raises an interesting question about right to know parents history and to bring back to them memories they want to forget.
Stephanie
Aug 22, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical
Publisher's Description:

"To this day, I don't even know what my mother's real name is."

"Helen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic. It wasn't until she was an adult, practicing law in Boston, that she discovered her parents were Jewish—Holocaust survivors living invented lives. Not even their names were their own. In this powerful memoir, Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her family in a bond of silence for more than four decades, recounting with heartbreaking clarity a remarkabl
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Jake
magine being raised as Mid-western, pseudo-religious Catholic, only to learn that your parents are in fact, Polish Jews, and survivors of the Holocaust to boot. Imagine that, and you'll have some idea of what Helen Fremont went through.

After Long Silence is a memoir in several parts, jumping between Fremont's childhood, where she wondered about her father's experiences in a gulag that left him with a permanently damaged arm, and learned to say "Hail Mary" in six different languages from her moth
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Nancy
Mar 07, 2011 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best of all worlds!
1 - A fascinating account of a dramatic time in our history
2 - Written in an intriguing (but clear and logical) back-and-forth-through-history manner
3 - Written with a love of the language - bright, stylish, with each figure of speech perfectly matching the action and emotion of the moment.

Three favorite passages:
(pg 209-210) Enemies were always available in all my games of war. They were lurking in the bushes, surrounding the house, creeping under the barbed wire across the
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Janet Mueller
Aug 19, 2012 Janet Mueller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sobering read. I have been interested in WWII for several years. 'Band of Brothers' sparked my desire to read as much as possible on the military aspects of the conflict. Actually, the stories behind the battles are what drew my curiosity, the men & women who fought in this war. I have also been delving into the varied accounts of the people living in Europe prior to Hitlers rise & during his reign. Until I read Ray Comfort's "Hitler, God & the Bible" I had little interest in Hitle ...more
Susan
Mar 01, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"After Long Silence," a work of nonfiction, follows the story of two sisters who unravel the mystery of their parents' pasts in Europe during World War II. Fremont tells this story with the energy of discovery yet also with a self-awareness that maybe she is uncovering truths that might be better to let lie. Her father spent two years in a Soviet prison in Siberia, surviving on his wits and guts alone. Her mother and aunt (sisters) survived the war by taking on new identities as Italian Catholic ...more
Elena
Apr 03, 2008 Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book-on-CD up at the library, because it was on the shelf and I needed something to listen to in the car. I didn't have high expectations for this book, but was in for a big pleasant surprise. It is a literary memoir of a daughter of the Holocaust survivor, who was raised to believe that she and her family were Catholic, when in fact her roots ran deep into her Jewish family tree. She and her sister didn't discover their true "identity" until both were adults. It is beautifully wri ...more
Naomi
Feb 15, 2015 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A frank and well-crafted journey of a woman's discovery of herself, her family, and her secret history. Her writing is extremely accessible; I felt as if I were sitting in my kitchen over a cup of tea with the author.
Laurie
Dec 08, 2010 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the exact kind of book that I like to read: non-fiction, a memoir, and decent writing. The author chronicles her parents "secret" past as Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. The book jacket misleads the prospective reader into believing this woman had no idea of what her parents went through in the war - when she really was mainly unaware that they were Jewish - she had grown up hearing constantly of stories from the War. But of course it is incredibly shocking that Ms. Fremont did not le ...more
Natasha
Aug 22, 2011 Natasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an adult, Helen Fremont learns that her family are not Roman Catholics but actually Jews. Her parents survived the holocaust and raised their children outside their faith to ensure that they were never persecuted. She mentions being taught the Lords Prayer in several languages so she would always be able to "prove" her Christianity. This was a compulsively readable book. I found I could not put it down. I even stood at the stove cooking with it in my hand. Her parent's past saddened me and I ...more
Pamela
Nov 09, 2009 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holocaust
Excellent book! I truly enjoyed reading Helen Fremont's quest to find the truth about her parents' lives. Her mother survives their ordeals of being Jews in Poland when Hitler was at his height by pretending to be Catholic . . . which is understandable, but why did she choose to keep up the facade for over 50 years? Her father escaped a Russian gulag to also hide under the veil of Catholicism. Her quest for answers uncovers some truths, but some questions are not completely answered. The reader- ...more
J.C.
Jun 13, 2011 J.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A good memoir but take it with a grain of salt. The subjects in the book (her parents) were less than willing subjects and and suffered such mental trauma that memories are sketchy at best. The real problem with this book is its style. This book is full of similes and metaphors that make little sense and throws off the rhythm of the story telling, the chronology is all over the place and sometimes there are tangents that don't fit the story. What's great about this book is the story itself, if t ...more
Dana
Nov 01, 2009 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The strongest part of this book is Fremont's narrative: the process of uncovering her family's story, and the fascinating and unusual story itself. The book is well-written, with some truly lovely passages. At times, though, it seems to get tangled up in itself: metaphors sound pretty but on second glance don't fully make sense; descriptions don't always contribute to the narrative but instead seem self-fulfilling.

Still, it's very worth reading for its main accomplishment: a new angle on Holocau
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Patsy
Apr 04, 2016 Patsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic. It wasn't until she was an adult, practicing law in Boston, that she discovered her parents were Jewish--Holocaust survivors living invented lives. Not even their names were their own. In this powerful memoir, Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her family in a bond of silence for more than four decades, recounting with heartbreaking clarity a remarkable tale of survival, as vivid as fiction but with the resonance of truth.

Driven to uncov
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Leah G
Apr 27, 2014 Leah G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish, memoir
After long silence is a good title for this book, which deals with the silences of a family and the toll it takes on their relationships when the secrets finally come out into the light.
It's funny to think how much sooner they would have all learned the truth if only they talked to each other! Helen's aunt had told her cousin Renzo a completely different family origin story than her mother had told her. both were short of course since they didn't want to talk about it much but the few things the
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Janet
Mar 02, 2009 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful, well-written, fascinating book. Yes, its about the Holocaust but from a different angle. The authors parents raised their daughters as Catholics. As an adult, she accidentally found out that her parents were Jewish holocaust survivors. Confronting her elderly parents, dealing with the secrecy herself, trying to understand why they kept their past such a secret .....just so interesting and thought provoking. Well worth the read.
Richard Huang
Dec 07, 2015 Richard Huang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Long Silence by Helen Fremont is the biographical story of how a daughter and her sister discover the past that their parents and relatives have been hiding from them. When they discover that theirs parents are survivors of the Holocaust, they bring back painful memories to their parents and cause trouble at home. They want to know about their origin but the more they uncover the more they hurt their parents. Furthermore, Fremont divulges into the biography with a manner like telling a sto ...more
Sara
Oct 05, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, memoir
I don't know where I heard of this book and don't even remember reserving it at the library, but I picked it up yesterday and I'm riveted. The author is raised a Catholic child of Polish immigrants that escaped WWII, but finds out as an adult that both of her parents are Jewish and that their entire families were killed in the holocaust. Putting together her parents past with the author is powerful.
Ariel Marie
May 22, 2014 Ariel Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Long Silence by Helen Fremont is a memoir that follows her personal story in understanding her parents' past. The memoir opens with an eerie scene about how her and her sister would ask what happened to their grandparents:

"My discover that my father's mother, too, had died in a bomb was much less horrifying. We were sitting at the dining room table, and either Lara and I asked, 'How did your mother die?'

I remember my fathers terse response: 'A bomb.' He sounded angry, and we let it drop."

T
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Heather
A really important story. Despite everything that I know about the holocaust already (from tv/movies, books, museums and school)I find that each individual's (or family's in this case) tale creates a new feeling of horror in me. This book is a little different than most in that it tells of the post traumatic effects.
I give it 3 instead of 4 stars for two reasons: 1)The narrative jumped around time a little more than I liked and 2)The author had to fictionalize some or many of the details. For e
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Trina
Jan 22, 2014 Trina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A memoir of Helen Fremont's parents and family. Her parents survived the war by ultimately taking on a Catholic identity and 'forgetting' their Jewish past. This continues well after the war, and after they've immigrated to the United States. An amazing story that was muddled too much with the author's own part in the story. While I could certainly sympathize with their post traumatic stress, and the need her parents still felt to hide their Jewish past, I didn't feel that part of the story real ...more
Michelle
Jan 10, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Terri Licopoli, Paula Feely
A woman who was raised Catholic begins to suspect that her family is really Jewish. Turns out her parents are Polish Jews that survived the holocaust by changing their identities. Her father survived 6 years in a Russian Gulag in Siberia. Book tells of how the holocaust continues to affect the next generation. Fascintating read, drew me in right away.
Luanne Castle
Dec 03, 2014 Luanne Castle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I’ve read a lot of stories about the Shoah (the Holocaust), but never one quite like the story of Helen Fremont’s family. Her book, After Long Silence: A Memoir, is truly a blend of genres, regardless of the title.

Fremont is of my generation, but her parents were European refugees who came to the United States after WWII. To everyone outside the family they were a nice Polish-American Catholic family. Inside the nuclear family, they also appeared to be Catholics of Polish ancestry.

The book is ab
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Jen Regnier
Jun 09, 2016 Jen Regnier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorite Quotes from After Long Silence by Helen Fremont:

"This was the tale they liked to tell and retell, the story they used to summarize their lives. It was a good story, because it ran a thread across the war and connected the two lovers before and after. It tied a knot in their tongues at the end, and the war remained silent; the intervening six years could never be spoken."

"He picked up books and soaked in all they had to offer, wringing them out and throwing them over his shoulder."

"It's
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Evangeline Alva
Aug 10, 2010 Evangeline Alva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was 12 at the time, and I absolultely loved the book. It gives a very detailed, horrifying, and attention-engagin account of the holocaut. Maybe it's because i love horrifying truths and history, but I remember being in love with the book, and then in a state of depression for the sadness of the characters later.
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“We were opposites in every way until we grew up, left home, and discovered we were more alike than we'd thought. Sisters only get to be opposites within the family; separated by the world, they become practically identical.” 31 likes
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