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American Jewish writer exposes Brona Gora (Andrea Simon)
By Andrea Simon
University Press of Mississippi
Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography
$28.00, hardback, ISBN 1-57806-481-3

Book News for Immediate Release

American Jewish writer exposes Brona Gora
massacre and Holocaust tragedy

When Andrea Simon separated from her American tour
group to hunt for ancestral traces in the village of Volchin
in Belarus, she met a tragedy no one had written about.

“It’s safe to say this book, BASHERT: A GRANDDAUGHTER’S
HOLOCAUST QUEST (University Press of Mississippi)
contains the most extensive information to date on the
Brona Gora and Volchin massacres,” she says.

Haunted by her grandmother’s Old World stories and bigger-
than-life persona, Simon undertook a spiritual search for her
lost family. In her grandmother’s village where the last
known family members had lived, she followed the trail of
the death march taken by the local Jews to the place of their
slaughter by Nazis and Nazi collaborators in the fall of 1942.
During the same period, in Brona Gora, a forest between
Brest and Minsk, some 50,000 Jews were shot. Simon was in
one of the first American groups to visit this little-publicized

BASHERT, the Yiddish word for fated, is the story of the authors
arduous quest. With newly translated archival records, she
peeled back layers of clues to confront the mystery. This
story of her momentous odyssey reveals the terrible fate of
her kin.

Mass shootings of Jews, particularly in the Soviet Union,
have not been addressed with the same focus given to
concentration-camp atrocities perpetrated in other areas.
Yet Simon’s research reveals that Nazis killed nearly fifty
percent of their Jewish victims by means other than gassing.
As she interweaves tragic narrative with evocative family
anecdotes, Simon writes a story of life in czarist Russia and,
within this frame, of her family’s flight from pogroms and
persecution. From a unique vantage, Simon’s memoir
discloses her dogged genealogical search, the newly
perceived Jewish history she uncovered, and the
ramifications of the Holocaust in the postwar generation.

“While I have been devoted to uncovering this material and
filling a significant gap in Holocaust literature, there was no
way to get the exact facts,” Simon says. “For a perfectionist
such as myself, this was difficult to accept. Given all these
concerns, it is my sincerest wish that I have done justice to
those whose stories needed to be told. For in the end, that is
all that matters.”

Andrea Simon is a writer and photographer who lives in
New York City. Several of her stories and essays have been
published; and she has been the recipient of prestigious
literary honors, including first place in the Ernest
Hemingway First Novel Contest and Authors in the Park
Short Story Writing Contest.

# # #

For more information contact Steven B. Yates, Assistant
Marketing Manager/Promotions, 601.432.6459,
email syates@ihl.state.ms.us.

Praise for Andrea Simon’s BASHERT: A

“Bashert is the engrossing story of Andrea Simon’s search
for her roots, her re-engagement with her grandmother
Masha. It is the story of the past that once was and never
again shall be—Volchin, a Jewish town whose population
was decimated by the Einsatzgruppen. Simon’s writing
makes us care about her, her grandmother, her town, and
her self-discovery. Perhaps the first—or at least one of the
first—of a new generation of Holocaust writing.”

—Michael Berenbaum

Director of the Sigi Ziering Center for the Study of the
Holocaust and Ethics, The University of Judaism. Former
President of the Survivor of the Shoah Visual History

“In her quest for the truth, Simon has written a loving
eulogy to her lost family.”

—George Cohen

Steven B. Yates
Assistant Marketing Manager/Promotions
University Press of Mississippi
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
Ph 601.432.6459
Fax 601.432.6217

Check the UPM website
Can also be ordered online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles, etc., and in most bookstores.

Author available for talk/signing.

Andrea Simon: (212) 222-5284; SimonAndrea@msn.com

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