Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Takeaway Men

Rate this book
With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War.

Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers.

But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated.

264 pages, Paperback

First published August 4, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Meryl Ain

4 books106 followers
Meryl Ain is a writer, author, podcaster, and career educator. "The Takeaway Men," her award-winning post-Holocaust debut novel, was published in 2020. The sequel,"Shadows We Carry," will be published on April 25.
Meryl's articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she is the author of two non-fiction books. A member of The International Advisory Board for Holocaust Survivor Day, she is the host of the podcast, "People of the Book," and the founder of the Facebook group, "Jews Love To Read!
Meryl holds a BA from Queens College; an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a doctorate in education from Hofstra University. She and her husband, Stewart, a journalist, live in New York.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
164 (30%)
4 stars
175 (32%)
3 stars
145 (27%)
2 stars
39 (7%)
1 star
9 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 152 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,087 reviews30.1k followers
August 14, 2020
Bronka and Johanna are twin sisters who have arrived in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp after the Holocaust.

The adjustment to the US is hard for the family because of the fear of the Cold War and all the cultural differences.

Several years later, a former Nazi is found to be hiding in their local community, and it brings back all their fears.

The Takeaway Men is a story of immigration and the prejudice that often comes along with it. It’s also a story of secrets and family.

Overall, I was impressed with Meryl Ain’s storytelling. The Takeaway Men was so much more than I expected it to be. As a reader, I felt like I was completely inside the thoughts and fears of this family. I learned a great deal, and I cared about each of the characters.

If you are looking for a unique take on the aftermath of the Holocaust and its lasting impact on a family, please give this one a second look.

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram.com/tarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Marilyn.
773 reviews209 followers
September 4, 2021
4.5 very strong stars for this outstanding book! I listened to the audiobook of The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain and felt that it was well written and well researched. It was read by Senn Annis and the performance was very well done. The Takeaway Men was most definitely a character driven book with a captivating plot. It followed Judy and Aron Lubinski from their small village in Poland where they survived the Holocaust, to a displaced person’s camp near Munich, Germany, to their arrival in the Bellerose neighborhood in Queens, New York. While Judy and Aron were in the displaced person’s camp, Judy, then Deeta, gave birth to two beautiful and healthy twin daughters, Bronka and Johanna. The family arrived in New York in 1951 and were graciously welcomed by distant relatives of Aron’s that he had never met until that day. Aron and Judy and their twin daughters moved into the home of Aron’s relatives and soon began the difficult task of learning how to assimilate into the American culture. Bronka and Johanna had an easier time doing that compared to their parents.

Many Holocaust survivors had a difficult time sharing their stories. Some did not want to relive the atrocities they lived through. Survivors that were parents of young children might have felt that their children were not old enough to hear their stories. The Takeaway Men explored what happened to families like Judy’s and Aron’s that had survived the Holocaust, left Europe and had immigrated to the United States. Although the war and the Holocaust were over, the atrocities survivors witnessed and lived through were never really out of their thoughts. Vivid reminders were constantly present in their repeated nightmares. Both Judy and Aron knew that at some point they would tell their story to their twin daughters but they kept putting it off. The time was never right and they felt their daughters were too young to understand or be able to comprehend all that they would have to convey to them. They chose to ignore the subject and they never even mentioned or used the words Nazis or the Holocaust. During the 1950’s, the country was more involved with the ramifications of the Cold War. The Holocaust and World War II were in the past.

The Takeaway Men was about family, survival, secrets, fear, identity, immigration and assimilation. It was told from different points of view which allowed the characters to develop in a more complex way and really gave a realistic view of those times. I grew up in the 1950’s and so I was easily able to relate to a lot of the trending toys, shows and clothes of that decade that were mentioned throughout the book. There have been many books written about the Holocaust but The Takeaway Men explored another aspect that has not been written about a lot. I felt the pain, constant turmoil and guilt the survivors of the Holocaust must have felt when they immigrated to places like the United States, Israel, Canada or wherever they decided to settle. On top of that, they had the added pressures of learning how to assimilate into those cultures. I enjoyed listening to this audiobook and recommend it very highly.

Thank you to Orange Sky Audio for giving me the opportunity to listen to the audiobook of The Takeaway Men through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Karren  Sandercock .
739 reviews142 followers
August 4, 2020
The Lubinski family decides to have a fresh start and escape the dark cloud the Holocaust still has over them, they leave the displaced person camp in Germany and immigrate to America.

Waiting for their ship to dock in New York are Aron’s cousin Izzy and his wife Faye; and they take Aron, Judy, Johanna and Bronka to their home in Belle-rose where they have set up two rooms for the family to live. America is a lot for the Lubinski’s to take in, it’s big, it’s noisy, very busy and very modern.
The girls adapt quickly, they make friends with Mindy who lives on the same street, and they learn to speak English and Aron starts work at one of Izzy’s bakeries. Aron still has the terrible nightmares and not even in his sleep can he escape the horror he experienced while living in the Jewish Ghetto in Kielce Poland.
His daughters have no idea what happened to their dad during the Holocaust, they think he’s moody, grumpy, takes no pride in his appearance and they find him embarrassing. They go to a Hebrew school in the afternoons; here they learn some facts about the holocaust and want to know the truth about what happened to their parents during WW II?

When Aron explains what happened to his family after the Nazis invaded Poland, the girls discover the truth is horrific; and their mother’s involvement is also a big shock.
The Takeaway Men explores the impact of the Holocaust had on the survivors, how much they struggled after the war ended and no therapy was available back then. They lost everything; property, family, friends, jobs, faith and it changed them. Many experienced survivor’s guilt, they changed their names, moved to other countries, didn’t tell their children, and even spouses had no idea what they endured because what happened to them was often too painful to talk about and they didn’t want anyone to know. All thoughts shared in this review are my own and I gave The Takeaway Men four stars. I have shared my review on Goodreads, Amazon Australia, NetGalley, Edelweiss, Twitter, Kobo and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Stacey B.
287 reviews64 followers
March 15, 2023
Review is missing. Wrote it in 2020
Not a happy camper.
Profile Image for Rosh [busy month; will catch up soon!].
1,361 reviews1,211 followers
September 9, 2021
In a Nutshell: I don’t think I would have finished this book if I were reading it. Having an audiobook makes to easier to trudge on, no matter how bored you are.

1947. Aron and Judy Lubinski are moving to the US along with their three year old twin girls Johanna and Bronka after the WWII to escape the continuing persecution of the Jews in Poland. There, Aron is welcomed with open arms in the home of his cousin Izzy and his wife Fay. Izzy also finds a job for Aron, thereby making his transition to his new life a little smoother. Aron is a deeply religious man and strictly follows all traditional Jewish customs. For their own reasons, Aron and Judy don’t reveal anything about the Holocaust and its impact on their family to their girls. But as the years pass, their curiosity and their peers make them realise that there is a lot left unsaid by the parents.

Along with this main story arc, there are multiple side arcs related to Fay’s daughter Becky from an earlier marriage, their neighbour Leonore and her affairs, and an ex-Nazi soldier working for a local delicatessen.

This should have been a book I relished. I love the historical fiction genre and books set around the Holocaust survivors have their own appeal to the reader in me. But this book missed the target entirely.

The writing is very flat. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters in spite of their supposedly tragic circumstances. The story seems to move from one subplot to the next without any eye on the overall story development. It gets its act together (to a certain extent) only in the last 30% or so, by which time it is too late. It felt as if the book wanted to cover X number of topics and jumped from one topic to another in the hope of ticking the checkboxes of the topic list. In the process, all the shortlisted topics were touched upon but none of them were covered deep enough to make a mark. I also feel that the story wasn’t very indicative of its time period. Somehow, it didn’t feel like historical fiction except in connection to the Nazi atrocities and the psychological aftermath. The rest of the scenes could have taken place in any era and the plot would have remained the same. That is not a good sign.

The character development is also very poor. There is no consistency in their portrayal and no logical explanation for their behaviour in many cases. None of the character actions (once they came to America) made any sense. The excessive secrecy over Judy’s background seemed utterly illogical. The end leaves many character arcs abruptly chopped out, so we never know what happens to Becky and we can only guess at Leonore’s future. What irked me even further was the excessive stress on the physical appearance of the characters, especially but not only while introducing them in the plot.

On the positive side, I did learn a lot about orthodox Jewish customs and a little about life in 1960s America. (I am so sorry but I can’t think of any other positive point.)

If I have to pinpoint one specific person for the big disappointment this book has been, it would be the person in charge of writing the book summary on Goodreads. Let me copy it here for your reference:
“With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War. Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated. Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.”

Now let me analyse this sentence by sentence.

“With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp.” – They move to America two years after the end of WWII. So the cloud looming over them is not the Holocaust but the antagonism of the Polish Christian population against the remaining Jews.

“In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War.” – The difficulties faced by the twins are hardly covered in the book. In fact, they adapt to America very easily because they were just three during their move. Only Aron faces a little difficulty but not as much as hinted in this sentence. His cousin Izzy’s presence makes everything so much easier as Aron gets a readymade house and job. That is hardly the typical experience of most immigrants.

“Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows.” – This is barely present for a few chapters in the middle of the book. It’s not a main plot point at all and is over even before we realise it.

“As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers.” – This is the only line that is consistent with the plot.

“But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated.” – Exaggeration. The memories were painful, yes. But there was no reason to keep it so secret when Aron and Judy were not at fault and ther girls were so mature and understanding. The parents anticipated pain and that’s why they kept the memories a secret, not the other way around.

“Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.” – Not at all poignant, not haunting except in a couple of scenes. The Takeaway men MENTIONS immigration, identity struggles, and parental secrets without making us feel for any of those issues. Nothing is explored in detail.

Because of this summary, I had assumed this to be the story of an immigrants struggle in a new nation while dealing with the psychological demons of the past. But there’s hardly any struggle in the story. Whatever is there is created by Aron and Judy’s decision of not telling their daughters the truth about their past. The blurb also makes it sound as if this family of four will be the key focus of the book. But no, there are myriad subplots about their cousins, the neighbours, some friends. Basically, whoever could be added to lengthen the story. Let’s not forget the title: ‘The Takeaway Men”. These hardly appear in the story, whether you take them to mean the men who take away a neighbour for investigation or the Nazis who took away the Jews from their families. Why is this the title then, I fail to understand.

As I said, the only reason I completed it was because I was listening to it. The audiobook was narrated by Senn Annis and she does well with her enunciation and accents. Though her voice was a little too high-pitched for my liking, that’s a matter of my preference and doesn’t indicate any shortcoming from her side. She really narrated the book pretty nicely. But she couldn’t save the book because the content itself couldn’t be salvaged. The additional positive was that the audiobook is just about 8 hours 40 minutes long. So it’s comparatively short and can be completed quickly.

Maybe those who don’t read a lot of historical fiction will find this book a heart-warming and eye-opening read. But to avid historical readers, I would not recommend this book. It’s an overly simplistic portrayal of a Jewish family’s experience in a new country. I’m very sorry to be so reproving of a debut work, but I can only hope that the author finds the critique constructive. My best wishes to her for her future writing projects.

Thank you, OrangeSky Audio and NetGalley, for the audio ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.
Profile Image for Ink_Drinker.
153 reviews217 followers
September 8, 2021
I am a historical fiction junkie!! I have read many books set in WW2 and books that provide insight into the Holocaust, but I have never read a book that goes into details about the struggles of life after the Holocaust....... and that is where this story begins.

The story centers around twin sisters, Johanna and Bronka, who at age four, immigrated to the States from Poland in 1951 to Bellerose, New York with their parents. Through research and exquisite writing, Meryl Ain follows this family, giving us intricate details of how the family adjusted to the American life in this Queen’s neighborhood. Ain’s has a way of carrying you back in time. You feel like you are one of the families living in the neighborhood going about your day-to-day activities along with refugees of Chinese, Italian, Irish, and Jewish descent.

The book will spur on emotions within you as the author illustrates how even though the Holocaust was over, it had a lasting impact on survivors and even their dependents for decades.

The Takeaway Men is a story that will stay with you for a long time and have you reflecting on the blessings you have in your own life.

Narrator, Seen Annis, does a fantastic job of telling this important story and bringing the characters to life.
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
1,994 reviews305 followers
July 30, 2020
2 sisters
2 decades
2 continents

The story began in Kielce, Poland August of 1942 where Edita smuggles Jewish children out of the Ghetto and hides Jewish adults in their attic unbeknownst to her father, a Polish policemen who supported the Nazis against the Jews.

The story revolves around twin sisters Johanna and Bronka who immigrated to the states from Poland in 1951 to Bellerose, New York.

This Historical Fiction writing by Ain was easy to read, well researched and followed the story of this family with rich and intricate detail of the neighborhood, the people, the food, the shops and day to day goings-on. I was truly transported to that time and the neighborhood filled with refugees from all over including the Chinese, Italian, and Irish as well as Jewish refugees from Europe.

Ain’s debut novel highlights the saga of the survivors post war illuminating their adjustment to the American culture with sensitivity and compassion. This was a powerful novel that follows a family and what they went through post the horrors of Holocaust as survivors, and navigating the Jewish American landscape in mid -twentieth-century America.

This was an exceptional read not to be missed.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews76 followers
August 9, 2020
Thank you Iread Book Tours for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Takeaway Men
By: Meryl Ain


Being Jewish in Poland during the WWII era spelled almost certain death. Many survivors chose to leave everything behind for a fresh start in the United States. Aron and Edyta, with twin daughters Bronka and Johanna, were one such couple, landing ultimately in Queens.

The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain presents a fresh perspective of life post WWII for Jewish Americans. I don't always consider how survivors carried on after the horrors inflicted upon them, but it is a topic I want to learn about more. Aron and Edyta decide to withhold their history of horrors from their daughters, and this was a personal choice that would likely vary from one family to another. Would you tell your children about your experiences or not?

Some survivors spoke constantly about the post, some lived for revenge, and some remained silent. As the twins grow up, curiosity lends itself to questions about their parents' past. An incident prompts some things to happen, and eventually, Aron and Edyta face a time of decision. Whatever they decide, Bronka and Johanna will be forever affected.

This story gives some insight into the daily life of Jewish Americans, and I found this informative. I cannot begin to imagine the difficulties faced daily from external forces and internal turmoil. The paranoia and secrets, worry about your children, making ends meet, and all the while remembering everything you want to, but can't, forget.

Meryl Ain gives these characters authentic distinctive voices through multiple perspectives, and this made them more realistic and genuine. I felt such sorrow and sadness as I read this amazing story, but there were moments of light, too. Any fan of WWII historical fiction will find this book compelling for its unique look at life after war. I definitely recommend it!
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,026 reviews209 followers
January 8, 2021
Not many HF novels deal with the immediate aftermath of WW2, especially for immigrants, so I was immediately intrigued by this book!

The Lubinski family arrive in the US from a Polish displace persons’ camp, each carrying their own scars. Aaron grapples with the loss of his entire family to the Nazi death camps. Judy, his wife, has a secret of her own she has not told anyone about. And whilst the twins Bronka and Johanna were born after the war, they are scarred by their father’s dark moods and post traumatic stress responses. The book follows the family as they adapt to their new life in a foreign country. As kids are apt to do, the girls settle in quickly whilst the parents – especially Aaron – find it a lot more difficult to leave the past behind.

With a keen eye for detail and subtle nuances, Ain’s exploration of Jewish life in the US in the aftermath of WW2 was both interesting as touching. It made me reflect on many of the themes it touched on, such as the after-effects of trauma, even on the next generation, who have only experienced the horror second-hand, through stories and their parents’ reaction to situations. It was interesting to see how many holocaust survivors wanted to shield their children from the horror they had endured by keeping their pasts hidden, which ultimately led to division and referred trauma, whilst others were open about discussing the past.

I think I would have become more immersed in the novel if it had focused on the Lubinskis rather than including many side characters, which led to some emotional detachment on my part. And whilst it was interesting to see the interconnection of the different families, I was never quite as invested in those chapters as I was in the twins’. However, THE TAKEAWAY MEN made me reflect on many of my encounters with holocaust survivors through my work, which mirrored some of the actions and feelings of different characters in the book.

All in all, THE TAKEAWAY MEN was an interesting and touching character study of Jewish immigrant life in the US after WW2, and I appreciated the topics the author highlighted in her story, especially the after-effects of trauma on future generations.

3.5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Spark Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

*blog* *facebook* *instagram*
Profile Image for Jane.
711 reviews42 followers
May 14, 2021
Thank you to the author for this book which I won on her Facebook page.

I'm a lover of Jewish fiction and this one was so good. It's hard to me to say it was enjoyable since it covered the atrocities of the Nazis, and everything else to do with the prison camps.

I loved the family of Aron, Judy, Bronka and Johanna. The twins were so fun to read about especially when they were growing up in the 50s since I was born in 1958 and the things they were interested in and Hebrew school, which brought back memories. The girls learned about Hitler from their friends and the book The Diary of Anne Frank from their friends.

There were many more characters in this book, too numerous to mention but do have to mention Izzy & Faye, whom they lived with and Aron's relative.

The ending was sad but it finally brought the book to closure about Judy's former life and how she met Aron. They were always afraid to tell the truth but the letter that was sent to Judy finally brought it to closure.
132 reviews82 followers
June 24, 2021
I thought The Takeaway Men by talented author, Meryl Ain was an outstanding fictional history/family drama that I can highly recommend.

As I was born in 1943 & raised on an Army Base in Texas ( my doctor Dad served in the Medics) this challenging time period was easily, but painfully, recognizable for me. Brava, don’t miss this important book on survivorship! *****
Profile Image for Valerie Taylor.
Author 3 books286 followers
August 29, 2020
There is much to take away with The Takeaway Men

In The Takeaway Men (Sparks Press), Meryl Ain sheds much-needed light on a topic rarely explored. What happened to the families that survived the Holocaust?

This story is about one such family—the Lubinskis.

Mostly through the eyes of twin sisters, Bronka and Johanna, and through the actions of their parents Judy and Aron, we witness this family’s struggle to acclimate to a post-WWII world. In 1951, they arrive by ship in New York Harbor from a Displaced Persons Camp outside of Munich, Germany, with few belongings, as well as family secrets that remain hidden until 1962.

Together with the four Lubinskis, we move into the cozy home of cousins Izzy and Faye in Bellerose, New York. We grow with them as the girls attend school in America and develop their individual personalities, interests, and friends. We admire their father as he dutifully works in Izzy’s bakery and embraces his faith to a deeper extent than Izzy. And we support and protect Judy as she tries to please Faye who’s curious about Judy’s lack of knowledge of Jewish traditions.

As years pass and the girls begin to learn outside of their home about the horrors of Hitler and the Holocaust, they have questions that demand answers. Will Judy and Aron reveal the truth about their past?

Throughout The Takeaway Men, Ms. Ain masterfully interweaves sub-plots that show us exactly what life was like for Jewish refugees in this country back in the 1950s. Her story forces us to reflect on our own beliefs and to confront the realities of hateful discrimination in our world today.

Though the story focuses primarily on the twin sisters, Ms. Ain intentionally provides us with an ensemble cast, weaving multiple points of view that are clear and easily followed. A favorite character of mine is Faye—strong, opinionated, wise. Through her, we see Judy grow into the loving wife and mother she was always meant to be.

Don’t be misled. The Takeaway Men is not just a story about life after the Holocaust. Growing up Polish Catholic myself, I was particularly drawn in by this Polish Jewish family and felt deep sorrow for those who experienced this hell then and for all those who are discriminated against today. It’s a story about immigration, faith, honesty, courage, and strong family ties that can and never should be broken.

As I closed the cover on this powerful novel, I was struck by how it had started and how it concluded. Just as Judy gave Aron a safety net in her attic to protect him from the Nazis, Izzy and Faye anchored the Lubinskis by opening up the attic in their home and sharing their abundance of love.

Readers will discover vivid descriptions, a fast-moving story, and richly developed characters whose dialogue is colorful and engaging. And for those unfamiliar with Yiddish or Hebrew, there’s a helpful Glossary in the back of the book.

What is that quote? “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” One of the best ways to learn history is through historical fiction like Meryl Ain’s The Takeaway Men. An important story for teens and adults alike.
Profile Image for Annie McDonnell.
Author 1 book40 followers
October 31, 2022
What an outstanding delivery of storytelling! It’s hard to believe this is Meryl Ain’s debut novel.
Reading “The Takeaway Men” by Meryl Ain was both a new and powerful experience for me.
Like so many readers, I lean towards holocaust stories. “The Takeaway Men” is a post-holocaust story, so it’s different than most.
It was a whole new learning curve for me, reading about a family surviving the holocaust, learning of a Displaced Persons Camp and watching them consider moving to New York City before settling into Queens.
They find out that there will still be suffering! This novel is riddled with guilt! They will have to deal with prejudice and more experiences like this all over again.
I’ve learned so much about tragedy and trauma being like an insidious snake weaving it’s way through generations passing the trauma on, and even bringing that same trauma from war right along with them and is still evolving after war has ended.
It is clear that Meryl obviously did her research well! I am so impressed. I am grateful to know this about my a city my grandparents grew up in.
I loved the character JoJo, she was one of the twin daughters in the family. Each character goes through emotional changes and have their own goals. They even have their own secrets, and they have a lot,
I was reminded of the significance of family and friends with each relationship only able to grow or change through the nurturing love, faith, hope & truth-telling.
Side Note: I love the name that was given to the displaced persons camp. It’s like she needs to write a book called THAT (can’t tell you the name)
It was so profound to me I had to sit with that for a while.
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair & honest review.
Profile Image for Tejomai (bible_and_books).
170 reviews26 followers
September 4, 2021
This is a story about a Jewish couple who in 1947 came to America escaping Germany ... The couple were forced to see abd feel death in every single vein of their time with the Nazies.
They didn't have anything to hope they both individually had scared pasts and are now trying to see life .
He always though about death that loomed them, he grew up as a doctor's son and became a doctor in Germany..
Now finally escaping it all..His eyes were opened to Joy again as they had twin girls.. "Life born again" - Now adjusting to life in US the twins grow up to find a Nazi man and all the Gastly truth of the Hollowcast comes running into their present life with all it's past ugliness
Twins Johanna and Bronka see the past and hidden truths and lies that shatter them to Life.....!!! About their parents past,their lives and the mistakes ,now nothing is ever gonna feel same ....

My Review:
Oh! MY
This story takes you through unique tours and views on the Hollowcast events that took place.
I was literally drawn to tears and my heart was Broke for all that ppl were forced to face and live during those times

It deals with the life of after Survivors - who dealt with their guilt over past, struggling to get along with the new life, having no therapy in those days .. many ppl couldn't stand it, they moved to countries, changed names.. Never shared what they went through even with their spouse's

I can't even start how they had strength on moving forward in such terrible events .
In the midst of all this ...they strived to help what they can, struggled to live but not to show kindness , with faith still hoping fighting moment to moment

💫This story shows the powerful effect of crucial search and effects of these events on Jewish ppl ,their beliefs and the moving effect & influence of Forgiveness , Love & Faith
Post War Effects, guilt of survival and Reclaiming Truth and Reconciliation with the past
It was my favorite part of the story.

💫Overall a great great book!
Voice of the Author was so compelling and living throughout the book

💫The audiobook version is too Good, it helped in understanding and spelling all the Hebrew meanings and their pronunciation...the narrator's voice was in involving and engaging from beginning to the End.
It felt like I was inside the book feelings all their fears

⚡Highly Recommend for all my History lovers , it gives you so much insight into the WW2 events .
It's a Heart warming and rending story of Life, Love , Forgiveness and Faith

I would love an sequel to this book.
I saw an documentary about a real twin women who survived the Hollowcast events and her words draw me even more into this book . I think that's another reason I liked this book so much

*Thank you Netgally and Orange sky audio for this free copy in exchange for a honest review.
I was free to voice my opinions anyway and my thoughts are true to every word.
935 reviews23 followers
July 31, 2020
A poignant family story of survival and new starts, love and forgiveness.

The Lubinski family – Aron, Judy, and twin daughter JoJo and Bronka seem to be adapting well to their new home in America, but both parents are hiding secrets. Their daughters have no knowledge of the atrocities their parents endured in war-torn Poland. They know nothing of the difficult decision their parents made to leave a displaced persons camp in Germany to start a new life in New York City.

The book has an interesting, diverse cast of characters. The majority have, in some way, been impacted by the Holocaust. Some can’t stop talking about it; others prefer to keep it in the past. Aron never talks about his life in Poland and is still plagued with nightmares; often cranky and unaffectionate. Dyta is seen as a Jewish super-mom, but she is terrified her shocking secret will be revealed. JoJo is eager to fit in, while Bronka is very analytical.

I experienced feelings of compassion, frustration, and anger while reading the book. Judy (real name Edyta, nickname Dyta) seemed to bear the brunt of the backlash that came from the revelation of some of their secrets. What would happen when all their secrets would be exposed? Are they wrong in trying to shield their daughters?

I give the book four stars because of its abrupt ending. I thought the author tried to cover a lot of territory, thus glossing over some topics after throwing them in the mix. A lot was going on at that time – the threat of Communism and nuclear war, the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and former Nazis living among them. However, the book was still an excellent read and hauntingly reflects the prejudices Holocaust refugees encountered upon their immigration to the US.

I received an ARC from iReads Blog Tours. The opinions expressed here are entirely mine.
Profile Image for Angel Martin.
437 reviews13 followers
August 12, 2020
This book was the perfect mix of informative and entertaining. Before picking this book up, I thought I knew nearly all there was to know about the Holocaust. This taught me things I didn't even think were possible, and I also learned a lot about the Jewish traditions.

The fictional aspect helped keep me interested in the story, but there were still a few parts that felt slow to me. Even with some of the explanations of some parts of the Jewish culture, I was still confused at certain points, but it didn't make the book any less enjoyable.

The depth of the characters was brilliant. Ain managed to make you dislike characters yet still sympathise with them, which is something that's extremely rare for me. She introduced new information about each character regularly, though it didn't seem too overwhelming.

This is one of the best books I've read based during the Holocaust and World War II. If you're interested in WWII, I highly suggest giving this book a read. Even if you aren't too interested, the book might change that.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via iRead Book Tours and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Elise Schiller.
Author 2 books105 followers
February 12, 2021
This is the story of what happens after the war to immigrants from Poland who bring with them harrowing memories and survivors' guilt. Father, Mother, and twin girls leave Europe and arrive in New York and settle in with cousins in Queens. The Queens setting of the early 50s was very well done--the homes, the neighborhood, the stores--and the insular nature of it all.

While the men in the story are busy building businesses and trying to make their idea of the American dream come true, most of the women accommodate everyone--generally true for women, certainly of that generation, regardless of their religion or their status--and we see the emotional toll that takes. The Jewish women who are responsible for maintaining all the rituals of the Jewish home are especially well portrayed. The young twins and their friends are busy assimilating, creating happiness and some regrets for the adults.

There have been an incredible number of WWII novels in recent years. This is the unusual book that looks at what happened immediately afterward. The secrets that are kept and eventually revealed reinforce that the past is always with us.

Profile Image for Litzsiereads.
109 reviews10 followers
September 26, 2020
A smooth and insightful historical fiction novel about a family adjusting to American culture after being victims to the horrors of the Holocaust and keeping it a secret from their daughters in an attempt to protect and move on from their past.

As I reflect on the overall novel, I really appreciated how readers were able to see each family members inner battles and thoughts on fitting into the American culture and the history of the Jews. We read perspectives from children to growing up as teenagers to adults. It wasn't an intense or emotional read which was nice since a lot of novels with this theme cane be. The ending I found abrupt but overall, I truly enjoyed this read and would describe it as a page turner.

Thank you SparkPress through Netgalley for approving my request to read The Takeaway Men in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for L. Bordetsky-Williams.
Author 1 book46 followers
June 2, 2021
The Takeaway Men takes an important and crucial look at the aftermath of the Holocaust. It is a well-researched and beautiful novel. We see a family grapple with its secrets and with all that is unutterable and beyond language to express; and yet Meryl Ain manages to convey the differing responses to trauma--from the need to speak to the need to remain silent. She also looks at how children of Holocaust survivors attempt to make sense of all that is beyond sense. It is a beautiful and poignant story.
Profile Image for Rachel.
2,034 reviews73 followers
April 21, 2020
The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain is an excellent historical fiction that encompasses several themes. This is a story of trauma, horror, heartbreak, resilience, loss, love, second changes, secrets, and forgiveness.

Through this book, we read not only of just one family's experience during the Shoah, but of many families and individuals experiences. We learn of events that occurred in Europe, in America, and also learn of their lives that continue on post-war.

The novel starts with one family's experience from Poland during and immediately after the war, their flight from Poland to a German Displaced Persons Camp, their immigration to America, and their post-war lives. Here in Bellerose, NY we see a community all affected by WWII and how they are all coping with the atrocities. We are first privy to Aron and Judy Lubinski's inner thoughts as they escape from Europe and come to America to stay with Faye and Izzy Lubinski (Izzy was Aron's father's first cousin) in their home with their twin girls.

As they adjust and learn to create a second life, the narrative jumps from one person's mind and perspectives to others. We are able to get inside the thought processes of Faye, Izzy, Aron, Judy, neighbors: Lenora, Jennie, Irv, Jakob, Eva, and others. We also get to see inside the twin girls' thoughts (Bronka and Johanna) as young girls and as they grow up.

Everyone in this community has experienced this horrific situation in one way or another. Some experiences more traumatic then others. Each person has their own identity and their own way of working through their experiences and how they cope with the after effects. Some talk openly about their experiences, others chose to smother their fears and feelings negatively affecting their own relationships and lives.

There are secrets throughout. It seems as if almost everyone is hiding something or someone. It is fascinating to see the human psyche and to see how flaws are justified and addressed. I absolutely loved to read through the changes (time period wise and maturing wise).

This book was definitely not what I thought it was going to originally be, however I was pleasantly surprised. This book, I feel is unique, and very much needed. To be able to jump from one person to the next and see inside into the deep recesses of their souls, was breathtaking.

As a fellow person of the Jewish faith, it is vital to continue to express, support, and acknowledge the atrocities that occurred to our people, as well as so many others and continue to educate future generations to avoid this from ever occurring again.

Excellent 5/5 stars

Thank you EW and SparkPress for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
Profile Image for BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books).
1,387 reviews102 followers
July 26, 2020
What I Loved:
I read a lot of historical fiction, and a significant amount of those books revolves around WWII, so I’m always excited when I find a book that provides a new perspective on the war. The Takeaway Men was a beautiful, emotional journey into the lives of holocaust survivors as they immigrate to America. We experience their joys and sorrows as they try to navigate a new world, and it is a beautiful story.

How I Felt:
The Lubinski family has experienced so many horrors at the hands of the Nazis during World War II and has decided to make a fresh start in America. This new country is so different from anything they have experienced before. It is vast, loud, and new. While the twin girls begin to settle in quickly, Aron is plagued by his past. His Holocaust experiences are a secret from his girls, which creates a rift between the father and his daughters. When their Hebrew school covers the war and the treatment of Jewish people, the girls want to learn about their parents’ past.

The characters were so beautifully written in this story. I felt their sadness and their joy. Meryl Ain did a fabulous job of building these people to be so real on the pages. I liked that the story is told through multiple perspectives. I believe that this writing choice is what made the characters feel so tangible. Reading from their viewpoint brought their emotions and thoughts to life.

This story is about the horrors of World War II, but it also brings to light the effects of the war for people after it was over. That view is something that isn’t often shared in books, and I really enjoyed reading about it. It’s an emotional story filled with the trauma, nightmares, and guilt that came with people as they tried to start their lives over. It’s a beautiful story and one that I don’t think you should miss!

To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend The Takeaway Men for readers that enjoy an emotional historical fiction story!

I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

My full review of this book will post to my blog on 7/29/20. All of my reviews can be found at https://shejustlovesbooks.com/all-boo...
Profile Image for LAWonder10.
951 reviews738 followers
July 25, 2020
Although 'The Takeaway Men' is fiction, much of the events and circumstances are factual.
This is a story of a Jew and A Gentile and the horrific nightmare of circumstances they endured in Poland during World War ll and in the aftermath.

Needing to escape the memories and ongoing hostilities, they were able to Immigrate to America. There the Jewish man, Aron, had a cousin who took them in and gave them a home, a job, and a new family. Just before beginning their new life, the Gentile, Edyta, gave birth - a month early - to twin girls. Before arriving in America, Edyta and the girls needed to change their names to Jewish/American names.

While living at their new residence in America, the Twins grow and develop friendships with both Jewish and Gentile Friends, but were raised strictly Jewish by their parents. The story, also, relates experiences of some of the newfound friends and neighbors.

As with all things in life, the story tells of various degrees of strictness in living one's religious beliefs, of various degrees of prejudice, and of various degrees of self one chooses to allow others to see. I found it "true to form" how different each individual responds to situations and others, even within a family unit.

It is harrowing, to me, how inhumane and cruel individuals can be to others simply because of differences in beliefs, race, religion, social class, skin color and other physical differences... Still, at the same time, claim to be Christian, God-like, or just a "decent" human being, while their actions shout-out otherwise!

It is important to be reminded of the past, in hope of preventing a repeated perspicacity. Love, Peace, Acceptance and Freedom from Unjust Condemnation needs to become a priority before true happiness can be achieved.

Th book was very interesting and well-written.
it did lack a bit of clarity n a few places as to who was talking, and the ending needed to be slightly stronger.

*This was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Sue Seligman.
498 reviews43 followers
August 20, 2020
Aron and Judy Lubinski and their twin daughters, Johanna and Bronka, leave a German Displaced Person’s Camp and move to Queens, New York in order to begin a new life. Aron’s cousin Izzy and his wife Faye, make room in their home for the family, and their new life is about to begin. The little girls adjust easily to their new environment, but Aron is still plagued by the nightmares of his experiences in the Holocaust and the loss of his immediate family members. Judy appears to be hiding some secrets of her own, but she devotes all her energy to creating a perfect Jewish home with the assistance of Faye. Meryl Ain creates an accurate picture of American culture and current events during the 1950s and 1960s, and depicts the desire of many Jewish people to assimilate to the demands and expectations of their immediate environment. We learn about the uncertainties of the Cold War, the Rosenberg trial and air raid drills at school. The emergence of popular culture in the form of toys (Ginny dolls, Tiny Tears dolls) and television (American Bandstand, Howdy Doody) is introduced. This novel is a terrific portrayal of Jewish life of the time, and although I grew up in Long Island during the 1960s and 1970s, I totally related to the young girls who are the protagonists in this story. The shadow of the Holocaust is ever present in Aron’s mood changes and his difficulty accepting the easy and what he perceives to be selfish life style of America. The prevailing attitude among many survivors within their circle is that they should not talk about their experiences to others and especially not to the children. As the girls grow up, they have difficulty understanding their father’s moodiness and start to develop their own ways of coping. The plot is enhanced with the other characters in the novel, many of whom have very interesting experiences of their own. I enjoyed this novel very much and I would love to read a sequel following the futures of many of the characters. Great book for those who are interested I. Reading about Jewish family life in the 1950s and 1960s.
Profile Image for Melissa.
506 reviews59 followers
July 29, 2020
I’ve read a lot of historical fiction that covered WWII but nothing like this book. I loved that Ain actually took us through life after the war, in a new country, and told a very emotional story filled with many characters so we experienced several perspectives.

I learned so much about Jewish life and appreciated how Ain mixed in Yiddish and Hebrew words. And reading the author’s note enriched the experience even more. I feel like this short book packed in so much and I walked away knowing so much more about what it’s like to be in the shoes of those very different from me.

I would recommend this one to fans of historical fiction who would like to know more about life after war.

I received an advanced copy in exchange for this review.
Profile Image for Jackie.
786 reviews55 followers
July 30, 2020
A haunting and poignant story of the struggles faced by many people especially children who escaped the fate that many people did not during the Holocaust. With trying to put the horrors and pain of it behind and moving to America that brings its own challenges. The book itself is fiction but many facts and real truths that many left behind faced are brought to light in this book. Truly heartbreaking and inspiring to read! I highly recommend this book!
1 review
June 23, 2020
The Takeaway Men is a fresh take on the impact of the Holocaust on survivors and their children. I especially enjoyed the focus on the twins, Bronka and JoJo, as they grow up in in post WW II Queens, NY. Their neighborhood looks idyllic, but there are always troubles lurking for them and their "baby boomer" friends. These fears, which include the threat of nuclear war and The Red Scare, are exemplified by the apt title of the book, The Takeaway Men, which the author explains is the metaphor for Bronka's fears. The book is both an easy read and a profound commentary on inter- generational trauma, immigration and prejudice. It is a work of historical fiction, but many of the deep questions raised are relevant today. The beauty of The Takeaway Men is that it can be read on many levels. It makes us think about issues that are rarely found in novels, such as The Rosenberg Spy Case and the indifference to Nazis hiding in plain sight. The Kiecle Pogrom, which took place in 1946, is a little known piece of post-war Polish history, which is a chilling and cautionary tale for today. It makes us think, what is our responsibility to speak out and act when we see evil? The ending left me wanting to know more about what happened to the characters. The story and its inhabitants have stayed in my heart and my head. A terrific read!!
Profile Image for Margaret.
1,153 reviews50 followers
July 18, 2020
For the Lubinski's arriving in the USA was a fresh and new start. A time to put the past behind them, as well as try to forget. I haven't read a book like this one in a while. For Aron and Dyta (Judy) along with twin daughters crossing the ocean is the perfect opportunity. As the girls get older they learn about the Holocaust, witness things and begin to question their parents. I love the cover and feel it reflects twins with different personalities and looks.

The author definitely researched a lot for this book. There is a wide cast of characters in these 244 pages with lives linked by friendship, the past and their faith. Touching on a lot of different subjects aside from WW2 made it hard to feel a connection to the players here. Very much a telling book verses a show.

Like I said the author painted a picture of life in the '50s and '60s in terms of mental illness and women's roles. A new perspective of healing after a horrible time in history.

My thanks to iRead Book Tours for an advanced print copy in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Sharon Friedman.
Author 2 books56 followers
April 18, 2021
In The Takeaway Men, Meryl Ain poignantly explores the lingering trauma of the Holocaust as the Lubinski family arrives in America from a displaced persons camp in the early 1950s. Family secrets, haunted memories, mental illness, and a changing world all have consequences as they struggle to restart their lives in the U.S. Ain’s well-researched novel perfectly captures the anguish of survivors still caught in the psychological grips of the Holocaust, and the difficulties of assimilating into a culture fearful of the Cold War. It is a story of survival, tragedy, and ultimately the strength of family ties.
Profile Image for Eileen Sanchez.
38 reviews34 followers
April 23, 2021
At the end of her acknowledgements Meryl Ain writes “...history is today’s current events, and no matter how dire a situation seems, individuals still have the power and responsibility to make a difference.” From the first pages the reader understands that Judy had faced that challenge. But exactly what an impact she had is not revealed until the very last pages. The author sets the mood of the time by reminding us of the Rosenberg’s trial, the air raid drills, and American Bandstand. This unique story of the Americanization of the Jewish survivors could have happened in my suburban east coast neighborhood. Read it. Be inspired. Make a difference.
June 23, 2020
Once you start reading Meryl Ain's The Takeaway Men, you'll never want to stop. In telling the poignant story of the very different twin Lubinski girls born to enigmatic parents who are guarding their own painful memories of the Holocaust, Ain masterfully evokes a time, place and culture-Bellerose, Queens in the 1950s. You can almost taste the matzo balls!
But you don't have to be Jewish to appreciate this novel, because the theme is universal. When the past is punctuated by horror, while the present offers so much hope for the future, how much of that past should be shared with your children and your extended family? Only time will tell whether the Lubinskis can truly free themselves from the Takeaway Men, and I, for one, would love to read even more.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 152 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.