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"My Soul Is Filled With Joy" With Karen Treiger

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 14 Cheshvan 5780

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM


By, Karen I. Treiger


“This extraordinary book enables the reader to see the Holocaust through two different lenses. Each lens gives us a compelling view of a world, far from our present reality, which we need to know. Each lens opens a gate and leads us into a reality from which we return transformed. This book which started as a gift of love from the author to her survivor parents-in-law, turns out to be a gift of seeing life anew to every reader. It enables us – no, it compels us-to see our everyday lives in a new dimension of appreciation, meaning and purpose. I urge everyone to look deeply into this book and accept its priceless gift of a new life.”

Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, President Emeritus, CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; chairman, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 2000-2002.


In this award-winning book, Karen Treiger tells of Sam Goldberg’s escape from the Treblinka death camp during the prisoner revolt on August 2, 1943. Running to the woods, Sam met Esther, who was hiding there. For another year until liberation, they hid together in barns and in a pit in the forest. The author, married to Sam and Esther’s son, uncovers details of their wartime experiences and travels to Poland to meet the families of the Righteous Gentiles who helped them survive. The dead of Poland speak loudly from the ashes, but the living find new voices. The author listens to these voices and finds her own in the process.

About Karen Treiger:

After 18 years of practicing law in Seattle, Karen Treiger felt an unmistakable call to explore the story of her in-laws, Sam and Esther Goldberg. Educated at Barnard College and New York University Law School --where she was editor-in-chief of NYU Law Review -- Treiger made the momentous decision to retire from her law practice and pull together the threads of a family story she had heard for many years.


The result of her three-year inquiry is the widely praised book, My Soul is Filled with Joy: A Holocaust Story. In it, Treiger chronicles both Sam and Esther Goldberg's journey, including Sam’s escape from the death camp Treblinka, as well as her family’s experiences in Poland when they retraced the path from Treblinka to the pit in the Polish forest where they hid until their liberation. As Treiger became invigorated and inspired by the people she encountered, Sam and Esther’s story became her story too.

Since the book’s publication, Treiger has crisscrossed the country to bring this compelling story to a wide audience. In June she traveled to Poland to launch the Polish translation of the book and speak at the National Ethnography Museum in Warsaw and at the Krakow Jewish Festival. She has been named to the Jewish Book Council Author’s Network and the Seattle Holocaust Center for Humanity Speaker’s Bureau. Her perspectives have been shared in the Forward and the Jewish Press.


“Karen Treiger’s My Soul is Filled With Joy presentation is so much more than an author talk: it is an amazing multimedia, multilayered, multi-generational interactive story of family, survival, love, and luck. A lawyer by training, Treiger’s passion for dogged research and vibrant storytelling enable her to not only cogently communicate how disparate lives intersected in the most harrowing of times but she also does justice to her in-laws’ fated and mind-boggling story. “When you marry someone,” she says, “you marry their family too. I married into a family of survivors.” Their intense stories of slavery to freedom came up annually around the Passover Seder table. Treiger, their daughter in-law, had the courage to stitch their far-off accounts and fabled anecdotes into an epic book. And her live presentation truly leaps off the page.”

Pamela Lavitt, Director of Arts+Ideas and Festivals, Stroum Jewish Community Center

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Tue, February 18 2020 23 Shevat 5780