The Spiral Shell: A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II by Sandell Morse (from Schaffner Press).
When she was 71, Morse got a fellowship to travel to France to write a memoir about her family. Over the next five years, she dug into the history of the village of Auvillar, got to know its people, and learned about their role in the French resistance during WWII.
Her book, The Spiral Shell, is a memoir about her family history, her reconnection with her Jewish heritage, and the story of what she learned about Auvillar's past.
For author Sandell Morse what started out as a research project became an unexpected rediscovery of identity and faith. In this haunting memoir, she uncovers long silenced stories of bravery and resistance among the civilians of a small town in France during WWII, and in turn finds deeper meaning and understanding of her own Jewish heritage. After the war, as the author describes, “truth went underground” and the stories of those who resisted and escaped were left buried and unheard. Morse gradually befriended and gained the trust of several individuals who shared their stories of bravery and resistance during that harrowing time. In a narrative that unfolds and overlaps both past and present, the author in turn discovers truths about her own life and Jewish history, denied her in childhood, and that she now more fully comprehends in light of the brave and selfless actions of those who chose to fight against bigotry, oppression, and genocide.
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