Wednesday, October 26, Michal Govrin, an acclaimed Israeli Author, held a speech on her newest book “Hold on to the Sun.” The book is a collection of short stories and essays exploring her own wandering through life, finding her place and her relationship to her identity as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.
Govrin’s beautiful words guided the audience through stories of her life and snippets of her newly translated book. She spoke of her mother, who had survived the Holocaust and how this influenced her youth in Israel. Govrin’s mother rarely spoke of her past in Europe and her life before the Holocaust. Yet, Govrin did learn of the most important events of her mother’s past and of her older half-brother, who had been murdered as a young boy during the Holocaust. It was only when Govrin lived in Paris studying at the University of Paris working towards her PhD that she realized there were “cracks in her existence,” which she felt the need to discover further. Being in Europe, so close to where her brother had died and so much of her mother’s past had occurred, she felt a deep connection to this specific part of her identity for the first time. Govrin revealed some of her innermost thoughts and feelings during this process of discovery and facing this sad chapter of her family’s history to the audience present at her presentation.
The stories and essays shed a new light on the Holocaust and its aftermath for individuals around the globe. Govrin’s captivating writing and powerful yet sensitive words describe a very unique experience of one Israeli woman and her path to discovering all the layers of persona, even the ones shaded by the darkest of past experiences. Govrin’s artistic approach aims to leave the reader moved and inspired to go out and find their own path and explore their own cracks in their own existence. Her open and honest presentation certainly left many in the audience with a sense of fascination and opened doors to one’s own path of self-discovery.