NOMINATED FOR THE
2010 JEWISH BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD

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Jewish Book World (Winter 5771/2010)

The title of this book says it all. Threaded throughout My Race is a detailed account of the lives of white, “colored” (multi-race and Asian), and black Africans, as seen through the eyes of Lorraine Lotzof Abramson and her middle class Ashkenazi Jewish family. Abramson was only two years old in 1948, when Apartheid was imposed on the country by the newly elected Nationalist Party. Like many other Jews in South Africa, her family spoke English at home and sided with the thinking and actions of the more liberal English South Africans. They stood in sharp contrast to the Afrikaners or Boers, the descendants of the Dutch settlers who were the mainstay of the pro-Apartheid ruling Nationalist party.

All whites reaped many of the “benefits” of being white in a white supremacist society. As Abramson astutely describes it, the Jews of South Africa were in a “unique situation.” They fled Eastern Europe to escape oppression and arrived in a country where “by virtue of their white skin...[they] found themselves on the same side as the oppressors.” South Africa under Apartheid was a “police state” ruled with “an iron fist.” The Afrikaners were Nazi sympathizers before World War II and their anti-Semitism was just under the surface.

The fact that whites were far outnumbered by blacks and coloreds enabled many Jewish South Africans to live “relatively peaceful lives” even though they were collectively referred to as “Die Jode” or “The Jews.”

This memoir provides the reader with a vivid example of the diversity, complexity, and vulnerability of the lives of Jews all over the world. Index. CP


Women in Judaism, Vol 7 No 2, 2010


Advance Praise for My Race

“This is a great story, well told, and I think it has a lot of meaningful perspective to offer the reader. I was transported through time and across continents. The book gives us a tremendous insight into the thoughts and perceptions of the people who live under a repressive and discriminatory regime. We watch the author’s struggle from childhood onward, to comprehend the structure around her, as she determines what she could or should do to change it.”
—Susan B. Sabreen, Executive Producer of Keeping Kids Healthy, Thirteen/WNET New York

“Lorraine Abramson’s memoir is filled with magical and heartwarming events: from her childhood running barefoot in a dusty South African village, to triumph and romance at the Maccabi Games, marriage and arrival in the U.S., and finally to the recovery of family memories and friends in a Latvian village. This is a unique and compelling portrait of a fascinating life journey.”
—Rosalind Reisner, author of Jewish American Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests and Read On…Life Stories: Reading Lists for Every Taste

“I throughly enjoyed this book. The author tells the story with a delightful air of discovery — especially her feelings of complicity in the same apartheid practices that she was obviously opposed to. This is an intensely personal and romantic tale.”
—Steve Bookbinder, author of How to Be Your Own Coach


     

     
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Publisher: DBM Press, LC
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