Surviving the Holocaust and Stalin

The Amazing Story of the Seiler Family

Vanessa Holburn

Date Published :
March 2023
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
32 mono illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399062992
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


The horrors of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and labor camps were just the beginning of the struggle to survive for the Seiler family. As Hungarian Jews, they faced persecution of the very worst kind both from their own government and Nazi Germany. After liberation by the Soviets at the end of WWII they endured further punishment from the Stalinist regime concealed behind the Iron Curtain.

This memoir is drawn from a recently re-discovered cache of precious family letters and exclusive interviews with Marta Seiler, who translated those letters for the first time. Marta has supplemented the account with childhood memories and original photos.

The narrative is told through the voices of Marta, her mother Izabella and her father Lajos on a journey that takes us from 1935 to the present day. The reader is able to piece together the family’s personal challenges set against the backdrop of international political conflict.

Exploring themes of resilience, identity and inherited trauma, by the end of the book we learn how Marta rediscovered her forbidden Jewish identity, found her place within the community and has moved toward a place of tolerance.

In the tradition of oral history, Marta told her remarkable family story exclusively to journalist Vanessa Holburn. For Marta it’s important we learn the lessons of the past before they are lost for good.

About The Author

A journalist with over 20 years experience, Vanessa Holburn has worked and traveled extensively in Asia, with some of that time spent in India.

Vanessa’s work has appeared in national consumer and trade press and digital outlets. The mainstay of this work has required her to take complicated subjects and make them accessible and interesting to read. Discovering details – and presenting them in an engaging way – is her passion.

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