BSB: Judy Rakowsky (Jews in the Garden) Author Talk & Signing

Bank Square Books presents an author talk and signing with Judy Rakowsky for the book Jews in the Garden in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut.

About the Book

Villages of Poland hide the lost secrets of World War II

1944: Heavy footfalls thud on the road on a rainy May night. A band of gunmen scour a hilltop farm, acting on rumors that it harbors a Jewish family. For 18 months, the Rozeneks have been hiding safely, but their luck is about to run out. Only one from the family of six will live to see the sunrise. Sixteen-year-old Hena Rozenek shelters in the woods until morning… and then she runs.

Forty years later: Holocaust survivor Sam Rakowski Ron has lived in the United States for decades, never thinking he could return to the Polish village he fled as a teenager. But now he's ready to talk about what he heard, what he saw, and what he knows about two separate families of cousins who were his neighbors, and presumably were killed during the war. The story Poland presents to the world is that Poles saved more Jews than citizens of any other nation, that any murders in Poland were committed by Nazis and Nazis alone. But Sam, while defending his countrymen, suspects a painful truth. The stories he shares with his younger cousin, Judy, an investigative journalist, send them off on a decades-long journey unlike any other to find out what happened to the Rozenek family and ultimately reveal the secrets the Polish government is still desperate to keep.

Jews in the Garden is a globe-trotting detective story that turns investigative eyes and ears toward the hidden events in Poland during the Holocaust. Judy and Sam, the unlikeliest of sleuthing duos, knock on doors, petition court documents, seek clandestine meetings, and ultimately discover what really happened to the "Jews in the garden next door."

About the Author

Judy Rakowsky is a career journalist who grew up in Ohio knowing little about her family’s Holocaust story. As a young reporter she got to know Cousin Sam, a survivor of the Krakow ghetto and Nazi concentration camps who married in Israel after the war and then raised a family in Ohio.

She spent decades on deadline, covering crime and legal affairs for newspapers, including The Boston Globe and The Providence Journal. She covered major trials and produced countless page one stories. But one story riveted her: the fate of relatives in Poland. She traveled again and again to Poland with Sam, seeing how he came to terms with his own experiences and the challenges and fruits of the search. Describing those discoveries—the true history of what happened to these relatives—was outlawed in 2018 by the Polish government.

Coverage of Jews in the Garden can be found in The New York Times, USA Today, Boston Globe Magazine, The Providence Journal, and more. Rakowsky is available for interview and can be seen at one of her book talks across the East Coast this year. Visit her website to learn more:

Thursday, November 2, 2023 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Bank Square Books
53 West Main Street
Mystic, CT 06355
Jews in the Garden: A Holocaust Survivor, the Fate of His Family, and the Secret History of Poland in World War II By Judy Rakowsky Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728254623
Availability: Currently On Hand In Store
Published: Sourcebooks - July 11th, 2023

Villages of Poland hide the lost secrets of World War II