by Lola Lieber
296 pages, includes maps and color photos
Published by Devora Publishing
ISBN 13: 978-1-934440-48-3
This is the story of one woman, Lola Lieber, a Hungarian-Polish Jewess who survived and has chosen during her lifetime to tell the story of the ordeals of her survival and the strength of her faith and courage against all odds. It is also the memoir of a marriage that was a true working partnership as well as a marital bond of extraordinary depth. With her husband, Mechel, beside her, Lola defied authority, confronted the devil Eichmann in person, never giving up her faith in God and her belief that she and Mechel would be together at the end. The title of this book comes from a comment Mechel made at a bittersweet time in their lives. His words: “There will be a world after this,” thankfully, would turn out to be true.
You are about to embark on a journey that begins in Hungary, in the town of Munkach, goes forward into Krynica and on into Krakow, Niepolomice, the Bochnia Ghetto, Kosice, Budapest, Debrecen, Bucharest and finally Munich. It is an adventure of harrowing events and many close calls. It is, in the end, the story of the survival of a woman who will go on in her life to help repair the lost tapestry of Jewish life and to become a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, as well as an accomplished artist.
To My Readers
My children were always fascinated by my life story, especially concerning the war years. I did not bury the memories of those bitter years or try to forget them. Rather I would relish the opportunity to tell and remember those years even though they were for the most part a combination of pain and fear. At the Pesach ‘seder’ in particular Mechel and I would recite our personal ‘hagadah’, with our tales of suffering, death, escape and final liberation.
My children especially Heshy, encouraged me to start writing a book after giving oral testimony for Steven Spielberg Holocaust Foundation.
Although my original intent was to distribute my memoirs to family and friends, as I immersed myself into the project I changed my limited focus.
I realized after Mayer Jacobovits read and reread the manuscript many a time that his conviction that this book should be published for the general public was correct. My story really has a universal message of faith and hope in the most trying of times and can be a source of inspiration and optimism.
I pray and hope that the Holocaust’s message to mankind will bear the fruits of tolerance and kindness for future generations.
About the author:
Lola Leser was a privileged sixteen-year-old in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. The horrors of the Holocaust overtook her almost immediately when she moved to Krakow, Poland, after living for years with her maternal grandparents in Munkach, at that time in Czechoslovakia. It was there, in her grandparents’ “enchanted garden,” that she discovered her artistic talents.
Before she had a chance to fully mature, Mechel Lieber swept her up into a marriage that was to turn into a loving partnership. That union saw them through years of hiding, of fleeing from shelter to shelter and from city to city, often escaping capture by a hairsbreadth. During those horrid war years, which included weeks of starvation and periods of imprisonment, they lost almost all of their loved ones and witnessed firsthand the unbelievable bestiality and depravaties of the Nazis.
Through six harrowing years Lola clung both to her husband and to her staunch faith in the One Above, Who granted them both many miracles. It is that faith and her traditional upbringing that propelled Lola to uphold her Jewish values and traditions under the most adverse conditions. Lola was ever conscious that she was a link in the eternal chain of Jewish survival and continuity against all odds.
On January 19, 1946, now liberated, Lola gave birth to her first child in Munich, and the following year she immigrated to the United States. Her beloved Mechel died of cancer in 1966, leaving her with three children.
Today in her eighties, Lola still paints and is a successful artist. Her work has been exhibited in many art galleries throughout the United States and is in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Art. Her paintings are part of the Yad Vashem archives in Jerusalem and are in a number of private collections. She still maintains a gallery in the heart of Chassidic Boro Park in Brooklyn, New York. Lola is well-known and is often commissioned to paint portraits. Her works encompass a wide range of styles including traditional, impressionistic as well as modern.
Though Lola maintains a busy social and charitable activity schedule, her family always comes first. Lola often proudly states that she is the mother of three, grandmother of twelve, and the great-grandmother of thirty-six and still counting. This truly is her triumph and her final victory over Hitler and the Reich.