Day After Night
Welcome to Atlit. Meet Tedi, from Holland, who lost her sense of smell during the war, but who has regained it with a vengeance. Meet Zorah, from Poland, though she would probably rather not meet you. And Shayndel, also from Poland, a natural leader and very brave. And there is Leonie, a French beauty, who is great friends with Shayndel. All have managed to get to Palestine after the war. All are Jewish, and their experiences during the war are better left unstated for now, though you will read about them in Day After Night. But these young women are unable to start new lives yet in Palestine, for Atlit is an internment camp. Tedi and Zorah and Shayndel and Leonie are not free to leave it, as they do not have sponsors. So they wait, struggling to learn Hebrew, trying to envision communal life on a kibbutz, and slowly opening up to those around them.
Anita Diamant’s compelling new novel introduces us to these and many other memorable characters, all of whom have gripping tales. The tensions between the survivors of the Holocaust who are trying to rebuild their shattered lives and the British who are strictly controlling those who can freely enter the country are made vividly clear. The Palmach, the unofficial Jewish fighting unit, is active on behalf of new arrivals, coming into conflict with the British.
I was truly sorry to see this book end. I wanted to spend much more time with all these brave women about whom I had come to care so much. As the author brings us up to date on their lives, it came as a shock to realize that I wouldn’t be able to eavesdrop on their experiences post-Atlit, that their lives have already been lived. This caused a profound regret. Ms. Diamant, might you not go back and fill in some of the blanks?