The Reform Temple of Putnam Valley,
the Friends of the Putnam Valley Library & the Putnam Valley Historical Society
In the Unlikeliest of Places
How Nachman Libeskind Survived
the Nazis, Gulags, and Soviet Communism
Annette Libeskind Berkovits
Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm (Free) at the Putnam Valley Library
In 2004, three years after her father’s death, Annette Berkovits was going
through his things and found a box of tapes—several years’
worth—recounting his spectacular life, triumphs, and tragedies one last time in
his baritone voice. NachmanLibeskind’s remarkable story is an odyssey through
crucial events of the twentieth century.
With an unshakable will and a few drops of luck, he survives a pre-war Polish
prison; witnesses the 1939 Nazi invasion of Lodz and narrowly escapes; is
imprisoned in a brutal Soviet gulag where he helps his fellow inmates survive,
and upon regaining his freedom treks to the foothills of the Himalayas, where he
finds and nearly loses the love of his life. Later, the crushing communist regime
and a lingering postwar anti-Semitism in Poland drive Nachman and his young
family to Israel, where he faces a new form of discrimination. Then, defiantly,
Nachman turns a pocketful of change into a new life in New York City, where a
heartbreaking promise leads to his unlikely success as a modernist painter that
inspires others to pursue their dreams.
With just a box of tapes, Annette Libeskind Berkovits tells more than her
father’s story: she builds an uncommon family saga and reimagines a turbulent
past. In the process she uncovers a stubborn optimism that flourished in the most unlikeliest of places.
Dessert Reception to follow.