Book Reviews

Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila
Jeannette Katzir


In twenty years, most Holocaust survivors will be gone.  But the shadow of the Holocaust will not vanish with them.  These men and women will leave behind a generation of offspring whose own lives have been unavoidably marked by their parents’ perspectives of an insecure world.

“Our world isn’t exactly the same as everyone else’s,” says second-generation survivor and author Jeannette Katzir.  “We see the world through the survivor’s filter.”  Katzir’s new memoir, which is scheduled for release next month, chronicles her life as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, illustrating the survival mentality that she and her siblings inherited from their war-torn parents.

Like many second-generation survivors, Katzir and her siblings grew up with a clanship mentality.  Katzir’s mother, Channa Poltzer, whose own experiences as a Partisan fighter during the war taught her to trust no one outside her own family, raised her children to cling to one another while turning a suspicious eye to the outside world.

“Mom said the word ‘Stranger’ with as much disdain as any four-letter word,” Katzir says.  And for Chana Poltzer, anyone who was not blood was a stranger, including coworkers, friends, and spouses.

As the Poltzer children have learned, such blind loyalty and indiscriminating fear puts a strain on relationships both within the family and outside of it.  As Katzir explains in Broken Birds, her mother’s unexpected death leads to the discover that Channa has left the family home to only one child, neglecting the remaining four.  The battle that follows reveals years of suppressed indignation as unresolved sibling rivalries (once buried at their mother’s pleas for family peace) rise to the surface.  Without their “momila” there to serve as a buffer, the gloves come off and the Poltzer siblings are forced to confront the true nature of their relationships.  Katzir is driven to reevaluate her loyalties and what it actually means to be a good daughter, sister, mother, wife, and grandmother.

Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila, is Jeannette Katzir’s achingly honest memoir of the enduring effects of war.  From her parents’ harrowing experience during the Holocaust to her own personal battles, Katzir exposes the maladies of heart and mind that those broken by war inevitably and unintentionally pass down to the generations that follow.

Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila can be ordered from  The price is $17.95 plus shipping and handling.  For more details visit
About the Author:

As a child of Holocaust survivors, Jeannette Katzir’s life has been a study of the lasting effects of war.  Inspired by her own family experiences, Katzir has dedicated years to in-depth research of the impact of World War II on the survivors and their children.  She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs.
Book Statistics:
Title:              Broken Birds
Subtitle:           The Story of My Momila
Author:             Jeannette Katzir
ISBN:               978-0-615-27483-6         
Category:           Memoir
Length:             375
Retail Price:       $17.95
Binding:            5x8 trade paperback   

Jeannette Katzir
20620 Oaksboro Circle
Woodland Hills, Ca 91364
818-347-1700 FAX 818-716-5665


Copyright 2009 Judy Cohen, all rights reserved.