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Beth David Jewish Book Discussion Group
February 8, 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Hamel
Eva Abrams is a semi-retired librarian in Florida whose American son has no idea of her activities during her youth in wartime Europe before he was born. Eva is shelving books one morning when she notices a photograph in a magazine. It’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. As a graduate student during World War II, Eva had been forced to flee Paris in 1942 due to the Nazi occupation of France. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone of France, she begins secretly working with the anti-Nazi resistance movement, forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing from France to safety in neutral Switzerland. Under the constant threat of discovery, she carefully constructs intricate freehand lettering for false documents at a feverish pace, together with a handsome non-Jewish colleague named Rémy. Erasing the real names of children too young to remember who they really are, and matching them up with fake parents to escort them across the Swiss border, Eva decides she must find a way to secretly preserve the possibility that the true identities of these children and their familial connections might someday be restored. Inspired by a true story, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil. Discussion led by Rabbi Jaymee Alpert.