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The Watchmaker's Daughter: A Memoir

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  496 ratings  ·  88 reviews
The Watchmaker's Daughter tells the story of a child of two refugees: a watchmaker who saved lives within Dachau prison, and his wife, a gifted concert pianist about to make her debut when the Nazis seized power. In this memoir, Sonia Taitz is born into a world in which the Holocaust is discussed constantly by her insular concentration camp-surviving parents. This legacy, ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by McWitty Press (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  496 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So beautiful that I cried through most of it and, thankfully, laughed through the rest.
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely tribute to the author's parents, reminded very much of my own childhood and of course the passing of my own parents. Definitely recommend, but be prepared for some tears. ...more
Talia Carner
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, insightful writing of a second-generation Holocaust survivor

In lyrical, strong and evocative prose, Sonia Taitz describes life in a household of two people that had crawled out of the ashes of the Holocaust to build a new life in New York. But a new life could not escape the dark shadows of the hunger, degradation and losses that never lifted from the home and cast a pall over every moment, every action and reaction.

In this detailed memoir, Ms. Taitz draws great pictures of each of he
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-lit
There are numerous Holocaust accounts and memoirs. Much rarer are stories of the children of these survivors. The Watchmaker's Daughter is such an account. Sonia Taitz, the author, describes growing up on NYC. Her parents are both Holocaust survivors who have lost close family during the War. The parents work hard to provide for their family, but, as a result of their experiences, do not always create a happy, warm home. And the author, as she matures, feels responsible for her parents, almost a ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting memoir about a child with parents who survived the Holocaust. It's fascinating how the daughter (and son) have lived lives of relative ease in comparison to their parents. Reading how the daughter compares herself to her Jewish friends who parents were not in the Holocaust was truly eye opening. How her friends could peel an apple and throw away the skin and no one reminded them that that apple skin could have saved a person's life in the camps. I can't imagine being rais ...more
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A love letter from an American daughter to her immigrant parents who are haunted by their past. Sonia Taitz writes movingly but without an ounce of self-pity. At times, I found myself laughing and crying at the same time. Like Angela's Ashes, this is a book deserves to live on. ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well written and interesting. Now I'll have to go back and re-read In the King's Arms ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked up THE WATCHMAKER'S DAUGHTER, by the marvelous Sonia Taitz, because I wanted to spend some time in a wholly alien environment: the heart and hearth of a post-war Jewish family whose parents escaped unfathomable horrors to find hope in an America I've only seen in black-and-white photographs. An America that opened its doors to immigrants who would hang shingles on her crowded streets; that afforded second and third and fourth chances to those who could only find redemption or succor in ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sonia Taitz grew up the daughter of immigrant parents, both of whom survived Dachau. Her father, a watchmaker who helped save lives at Dachau, and her mother, a concert pianist whose career was cut short by the rise of the Nazis, keep the memory of the Holocaust alive in her house all her growing up years. As a result, she sees her role as finding ways to expand her parents' world with tales of travel and adventure and even a controversial love interest. Sonia's understanding of her own behavior ...more
Emily Little
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I discovered this book at BookMania in Stuart FL. It is the story of a daughter of holocaust-surviving parents and their affect on her outlook on life. It really gave you an insight that it was not just the inmates of concentration camps that were injured but also the kids of holocaust survivors. Their children suffer from a sort of bleak survivor-guilt.
Alf Goodall
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author calls this a memoir and it is definitely that. Unfortunately, the star rating system has definitions that do not necessarily match how one perceives a book, i.e. 5 stars are for amazing. I found this truly captivating; full of human emotion and give Sonia Taitz credit for sharing her innermost feelings and reactions, good and not so good. Definitely reminded me of my own youth.
Edward B Cohen
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely and Warm like a delicious matzo ball soup

Loved this simple sweet story
Although my parents were not holocaust survivors, I see a lot of my own upbringing and character in this memoir.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written memoir! I am a daughter of holocaust survivors, although my families survivor story differs, there are so many similarities. I identified to many of the narratives in the memoir. To the author, Sonia taitz, thank you so much for sharing your memoir!!
Rachel Berger
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Relatable memoir for 2nd generation and even 3rd generation survivor's children and grandchildren. ...more
Janette Farrelly
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed it but not as much as other similar books such as the northern lights
Lorrie Shaw
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
We are a product of our family history....and significant historical events like the holocaust, the depression, presidential assassinations....Sonia brings this to life in this great memoir...
Michaela Evanow
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Very well written.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Read the wrong book right title!
Sue Gross
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
small book (250 pages) of her life, parents who survived the Holocaust. Funny, sad, nice reading.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Smart woman learns to appreciate her domestic mother.
Family interactions in setting of holocaust survivors.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
The children of Holocaust survivors have to bear the weight of their parents' horrible sufferings and loses for which, understandably, they can never be consoled. The Watchmaker's Daughter is Sonia Taitz's memoir of desperately trying to escape that burden and very, very slowly coming to understand her parents' behavior and struggles in the United States.

The watchmaker is the author's Lithuanian father Simon whose skill at his craft allowed him to survive the Nazi concentration camps, though he
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book that is well worth reading! It held my interest to the last page and did not disappoint. I can well imagine that this story echoes many other immigrant experiences post-WWII.

Sonia Taitz is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her parents were Lithuanian Jews who were among the few to escape the German concentration camps. As immigrants to America, they lived in New York City where her father was a master watchmaker and her mother was his helper. Sonia grews up in the 60’
Paula Ludwigson
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of Sonia who is the daughter of two survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Her father is a watchmaker and repairer. As he says, the Germans value punctuality and with it clocks and watches. Her mother survives with her own mother and even risks her own life to save her mother's life. She and her family live in NYC in Washington Heights. Her father has rages in which he beats (what is called punishing) both her and her brother. He is, however, a loving father, intellectual, pushi ...more
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first read an article about this book in the newspaper. A few days later I saw/met the author at Women Read/Women Write. This book is a well-written account of the author's parents, Holocaust survivors. Simon and Gita Taitz are flawed individuals who the author, and I, the reader, came to admire by the end of the story. This is a story of family, love, conflict and how all that makes "a life." It is Sonia Taitz's love letter to her parents. The deaths of each parent are especially poignant and ...more
Joanne Clarke Gunter
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a good memoir and is very well written. I always enjoy those memoirs telling the story of children whose comfortable lives growing up here in America are juxtaposed with the very different and very uncomfortable lives of their parents before them. Both of Sonia Taitz's Jewish parents survived Nazi concentration camps. Both carry the burden of remembrance of people and places and events that no one should have to remember, and both never let the author and her brother forget the horror of ...more
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I do love me a memoir, a glimpse into someone elses story, a growing up story so different to my own. In this one, we meet Sonia, who grows up in New York, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. Her father survived the camps by his skill as a watchmaker, protecting many others, and her mother and grandmother were able to survive the ghetto and camps together.

Growing up, you could read that Sonia was somewhat conflicted, wanting the American dream family, embarrassed by the small apartment with
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, red-tent
It never ceases to amaze me the small miracles that occurred during the Holocaust; how people used their wits to survive. And while this is ultimately a tribute to her Holocaust survivor parents, Taitz' writing shows her ambivalence towards them. Her love/hate relationship doesn't quite reflect her remarkable normalcy despite being raised with abuse and guilt.

The bare bones are here for a great memoir, but unfortunately I wasn't drawn into the story. The jumps in time prevented a flow, and the i
Angela Blood
I gave this book 3 stars because there's wasn't a 2.5 option.... It took me a while to "get into" the book. It's not what I thought it would be. A lot of the book just seemed like the author whining although, despite having Holocaust survivors for parents, she's a spoiled little brat. "Boohoo, I have black hair, but I get to travel around Europe and spend time in Jerusalem... Boohoo, my parents are strict and actually give a damn about me.... Wah! I can't wear makeup in front of my father and my ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Friends and family
Recommended to Gail by: Book review site
There have been many books written about the Holocaust (I have certainly read the gamut) but not any, perhaps, about being the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Sonia Taitz's father, Simon, was a watchmaker and this is what saved his life and others at Dachau. Her mother, Gita, could have been a concert-pianist had not the Nazis arrived. Luckily, she was able to save both herself and her mother at the concentration camp (Stutthof). Sonia grows up within her parents' insularity but at the same tim ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a memoir of growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors. It was more uplifting than you'd think it would be. The author gave us glimpses of the darkness that she grew up in, but you get a sense that she shields the reader from most of it--to the point that, except for being poorer, you don't get a sense the author's childhood was that much different from others at the time. There are glimpses, however, of a childhood that was tougher, sadder, more serious, than even the author has chos ...more
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Sonia Taitz is a playwright, essayist, and author of THE WATCHMAKER’S DAUGHTER, a memoir described by PEOPLE magazine as “funny and heartwrenching.”

The book has been recommended by VANITY FAIR, KIRKUS, The American Library Association (which nominated it for the Sophie Brody Medal), and READER’S DIGEST, which put it on its “Can’t-Miss” List. Author/critic James Wolcott described the book as havin

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