Sylvia RosnerRothchild

Sylvia Rosner Rothchild used her writing talents to turn oral history interviews with Holocaust survivors and Russian refuseniks into engaging accounts that challenged stereotypes and captured American mainstream audiences. Rothchild studied science at Brooklyn College and worked briefly as an X-ray department supervisor during WWII before publishing her first short stories and essays in 1951. She published her first novel, Sunshine and Salt, in 1964, and a collection of short stories, Family Stories for Every Generation, in 1990. She also won the National Jewish Book Award in 1960 for Keys to a Magic Door, a children’s book on the Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz, and spent decades working as a journalist and book reviewer for Boston’s Jewish Advocate and other journals. But she was best known for her collections of edited and polished oral history interviews, Voices from the Holocaust in 1981 and A Special Legacy: An Oral History of Soviet Jewish Émigrés in the United States in 1985. The powerful, vivid collections were praised for giving survivors the opportunity to describe their experiences in their own words. Alongside her writing, Rothchild played cello with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra for years, beginning in 1974.


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Sylvia Rothchild has used both fiction and nonfiction to explore the cultural identities of twentieth-century Jewish immigrants to the U.S., including the mass wave of Eastern European immigrants in the early part of the century, Holocaust survivors and emigrés from the Soviet Union.

Courtesy of Sylvia Rothchild

Date of Birth

Brooklyn, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sylvia Rosner Rothchild." (Viewed on July 14, 2020) <>.


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