“Oy Mame! Oy Mame!” — Book Release, September 15, 2021.
The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Abraham Gutreiman
September 15, 2021
(Houston, TX/Cardiff, U.K.) Oy Mame! Oy Mame! (Yiddish for ‘Oh Mother! Oh Mother!’ spoken with a tone of affliction) is a beautifully written true-life story of a humble Jewish man who lost all but one member of his family during the Holocaust/Shoal. Previously published in Costa Rica in Spanish this English translation retains the voice of Abraham whose preferred tongue was the Yiddish of his Polish birthplace.
Oy Mame! Oy Mame! was authored by a team of three persons: his son Max Gutreiman Goldberg, a doctor, his daughter Chana Gutreiman Goldberg, a sociologist, and Mauricio Vargas Ortega, a writer, researcher, and professor. The source material for the book centers on a series of video interviews of Abraham during his later years wherein he related the many stories of his life. The book also contains a collection of poems Abraham wrote over many decades as he sought to express and explain his experiences.
As Chana Gutreiman Goldberg explains, “When our father turned 90 years of age, we asked Mr. Jaime Tishler that he, with his professional video camera, help us eternalize his story. We were conscious that his health was starting to deteriorate, and we did not want his experiences to disappear without being fixed in the memory of our family. Mr. Tishler fulfilled our request with great professionalism and love.”
Abraham’s story beings with his earliest memories as a young Orthodox Jewish boy living in Parysow, located some 50 kilometers southeast of Warsaw, Poland. His family was poor but hard-working. Looking to secure a better future for his family, Abraham’s father had made a down payment on a house in the nearby town of Garwolin, an act that led to his betrayal and death at the hands of a supposed friend.
The family, stunned by this tragic loss, were forced to recover through the endeavors of the children until September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the western half of Poland, which included Parysow. A Judenrat and Ghetto were established, leading to the eventual deportation of the region’s Jews to the Treblinka death camp in 1942.
During the journey to certain death, a fellow deportee used a smuggled hacksaw to cut through the iron bars in the window of the cattle car. People were pushed out of the small opening, many dying from the fall, but Abraham survived and made his way to a house owned by a sympathetic Polish gentile known to the family. After an anxious 9-day wait, his elder brother Yankel (Jacobo) arrived at the house. Due to Yankel’s indiscrete behavior in locating the house, the two brothers spent the remainder of the war on the run.
Surviving the war and its immediate aftermath, Abraham met and married Frieda, who understood Yankel would remain with them for some time. The three refugees made their way through Germany, Italy, Brazil to settle for some years in Bolivia before finally reaching Costa Rica. Abraham and Frieda built a family, which included Yankel until his death at the age of 101.
Oy Mame! Oy Mame! explores Abraham’s battles with poverty, evil, adversity, and his relationship with God.
The original Spanish version of the book has received many accolades in Costa Rica and, it is currently under consideration for use in the country’s education system.
The Gutreiman family wishes to share their father’s story with the English-speaking world in the hope that it will reinforce people’s understanding of the effects of bigotry, racism, and hatred — issues that still afflict our world today. We are proud to work with them in this quest and we shall distribute complimentary copies to the many Holocaust Museums in the USA and Canada.
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Book trailer video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0md9ISIClI