PEN Award

I am so proud to report that my wife, Heather Macadam, has been shortlisted for a Pen Award (Biography) for her book, 999: The Extraordinary Young Women Of The First Official Jewish Transport To Auschwitz.

If you haven’t read it already, then I whole-heartedly recommend it. It’s a heart-stopping, poignant read as we follow these beautiful young girls through the gates of hell. It’s also a story of sisterly love and solidarity and, above all, the triumph of the human spirit over the deepest darkness the world has ever known.

Here is part of the proposal, which enabled her to sell the rights to Kensington/Citadel: ‘This is a story whose time has come. We must remember this vitally important segment of women’s history and share the first women’s stories before they are all gone. The 999 will then, at last, take their rightful place in modern history.

Holocaust biographer and co-author of best-selling Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz, Heather Dune Macadam, has unearthed poignant stories of the young women on that transport. She has met with family members whose mothers, cousins or aunts were on that transport, and traveled extensively to Slovakia and Poland to meet families, historians, witnesses and survivors. Framed specifically around one of the last living survivors, Edith (nee Friedmann) Grosman, 999 will give voice to the women and girls that history forgot, while explaining the political turmoil and intrigue behind the decision to deport unmarried girls to Auschwitz.

Newly discovered documents reveal the dehumanizing tactics employed against those young women: the betrayal of the truth behind what was supposed to be a voluntary labor camp for just 3 months of government service, but was in actual fact the beginning of Eichmann’s Final Solution. Finally, this book asks the question why were young women the first Jews to be deported?

This book is the result of Ms. Macadam’s years of research and advocacy to place these young women within history’s scope—the as yet untold story of theFirst Jewish Transport to Auschwitz. Complete with poignant photographs and testimonies from survivors and families, as well as extensive archival research, 999 will set history aright and put women at the forefront of the Holocaust, where they belong.’

Heather and I, as well as being husband and wife, are always each other’s first editors and advisors ( my MS’ usually come back covered in red lines) . Now, for the first time ever, we are working on a book together: Starcrossed – A Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris. It’s a true story about a nineteen-year-old Jewish girl named Annette Zelman, who meets the young poet and writer Jean Jausion. Annette has recently arrived in the capital from the eastern city of Nancy to study at the Beaux-Arts. Jean is one of the leading lights of a group of poets, writers and musicians who call themselves Les Reverberes, or Street Lamps. They love jazz and bebop, dressing up in silly clothes and hanging out at the Café de Flore, haunt of Simone de Beauvoir …. and so the story begins.

Here’s a photo of us in Poland during her researches for 999 ….


About sworrall

Writer with @Natgeo; author of The Poet and The Murderer; and the forthcoming Starcrossed: A Romeo And Juliet Story in Hitler's Paris (2022)

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