Fiet’s Vase

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In Fiet’s Vase, Alison Leslie Gold links together harrowing yet ultimately inspiring personal accounts of World War II. Meditating on such themes as kindness, love, and art, these stories shed light on the various strengths that people drew on during a dark period of human history.

From a young Jewish woman who defied death to keep the promise she made to her dead mother to protect her baby sister; to a German boy, the son of a Nazi, who separated from his father to discover a lifelong passion for the theater, the experiences of the individuals recounted here offer a rare glimpse of the personal face of war. How was it possible to survive the terror of those years-what hidden reserves did people summon in order to carry on? The voices raised in this book offer powerful answers to these still deeply relevant questions.

A young Dutch Jewish woman vanishes without a trace, except for the small silver vase evoking her memory in Alison Leslie Gold’s poignant chronicle, Fiet’s Vase and Other Stories of Survival, Europe 1939-1945. Gold, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, calls it “my job and my passion” to help aging survivors—heroic or unaccountably lucky—bear witness before it’s too late. Each record of “a life wrested from extinction” reads like a miracle, a silver chalice excavated from dust.”
—Oprah Magazine

We must be grateful to Alison Leslie Gold for having done the difficult work of collecting these stories of survival, and for telling them as they should be told: in language as transparent as pure water. This book is about the deepest kind of human suffering, and as such it is a holy book.”
—Singrid Nunez, author of For Rouenna and A Feather on the Breath of God

“This important collection of stories preserves more than the memories of ordinary men and women living through one of the most terrible periods in history. They remind us of the survival of human strength, courage and love against all odds, something we all need to remember.” —Sharon Salzberg, meditation teacher and author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience and Loving kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness


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