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Discussion Questions

Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace

by Masha Gessen

  1. In her introduction, Gessen wonders, "How much of the past needs to be exposed or examined before there is a future? How much can be forgiven? How much can we understand?" What is your opinion about these questions? Are there any aspects of the past that you think modern historians should avoid dredging up?
  2. One of the main themes of Gessen's book is whether and how much citizens should compromise their own ideals when living under extreme circumstances or under an oppressive government. Which approach (Ester's or Ruzya's) did you relate to most?
  3. Ester and Ruzya is a work of history, but in many places, it reads like a novel, both in content and style. Is this a genre you enjoy? What other books fall into this genre category?
  4. What are the stories that shaped your family in the twentieth century?

 1. As much as possible needs to be exposed, understand to forgive, dredge up !

 2. Compromise to stay alive but not your conscious.

3. My own experience of the Holocaust in my book "Aftershocks"

4.My family did not talk about their heritage, did not delve into their history for fear of personal revelation and the hard times of the First World War. And a stubborn adherance to their own experience of political and personal beliefs. They did nor agree with my actions and need to understand my life and my art.  Marianne Lieberman  Feb.1st, 2018

I have answered the above 4 points. Thank for the opportunity to comment.Marianne Lieberman February 1,2018

Thank you, Marianne!

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions." (Viewed on December 17, 2018) <>.


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