Family History of Fear

A Memoir

Publisher: Anchor
It wasn’t until she was nineteen that Agata Tuszyńska, one of Poland’s most admired poets and cultural historians, discovered that she was Jewish. In this profoundly moving and resonant work, she uncovers the truth about her family’s history—a mother who entered the Warsaw Ghetto at age eight and escaped just before the uprising; a father, one of five thousand Polish soldiers taken prisoner in 1939, who would become the country’s most famous radio sports announcer; and other relatives and their mysterious pasts—as she tries to make sense of anti-Semitism in her country. The poignant story of one woman coming to terms with herself, Family History of Fear is also a searing portrait of Polish Jewish life, before and after Hitler’s Third Reich.



The secret

This book has been in me for years. Along with this secret. From the instant I found out I was not who I thought I was. From the moment my mother told me she was Jewish.

I was born in Poland, in Warsaw, several years after the war. I had blue eyes and blond hair, a source of great pride to...
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“Illuminating. . . . Tuszyńska offers us vignettes and personal narratives that track the ever-shifting course of Polish-Jewish relations in the 20th century.” —The Wall Street Journal

Family History of Fear is not only a memoir or work of restorative personal history. It’s an act of un-erasure. Tracing her bloodlines of fear, secrecy and self-loathing, [Tuszyńska] uncovers a history of survival and solidarity, of profound love.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“A work of fierce courage. . . . [Family History of Fear] is Tuszyńska’s beautiful, terrifying fight to bring her heritage alive.” —The Jewish Book Council
“A family saga meticulously re-created . . . A literary account of searching for one’s identity.” — Ryszard Kapuściński´, author of The Soccer War and Imperium

“A moving memoir.” —Toronto Star