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Becoming Janet: Janet Singer Applefield on Talking Point

Janet Singer Applefield Discusses Her Upcoming Holocaust Memoir With Laura Kessler

by Laura Kessler

Becoming Janet: Holocaust Lessons for a Post 10/7 World

Reinventing Ourselves after Trauma 

Janet Singer Applefield discusses her upcoming Holocaust Memoir with Laura Kessler. As a child survivor, she discusses her journey of resilience through several names and identities before being reunited with her father and beginning a new life. One of the lessons we can learn from Janet and other Holocaust survivors is how to be resilient after trauma and successfully transform our identities for a new chapter of Jewish survival and healing after the unimaginable loss of 10/7.

Official site: janetapplefield.com

Facebook: facebook.com/janet.applefield

Instagram: instagram.com/janetapplefield/

Amazon book preorder: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Janet-Finding-Myself-Holocaust/dp/B0CQPRRDLG/

Janet singer applefield

Talking Point             BIPACT News

Janet Singer Applefield is a child survivor of the Holocaust, author, and notable speaker. She earned her Master of Social Work at Boston University and practiced as a clinical social worker in the court system with perpetrators of hate crimes in the Greater Boston area for 30+ years. Janet speaks openly about her experiences with thousands of people each year through regular speaking engagements. In 2021, she was invited to tell her story before the Massachusetts State Legislature, on the occasion of the passage Bill H.692, an act mandating statewide genocide education in all middle and secondary schools. Becoming Janet: Finding Myself in the Holocaust will be released on May 7, 2024 and available at bookstores and online retailers.

When Janet first arrived in the U.S. in 1947, her father insisted that she relay to him everything she could remember since they were separated in August of 1942, so that he could capture it in writing. During his life, they never spoke about their collective torture. She discovered the seven hand script pages in 1984 in a box of yellowed papers, translated the document, and it became a blueprint for her self-discovery.  Janet learned of those who saved her during the war and she was able to meet her rescuers in person that same year.  They are now recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashem in Israel.

At 88 years old, Janet continues to be an avid reader and international traveler. She has three children and five grandchildren and lives south of Boston, MA.

Study Guide Questions for Teachers:

  1. Did Janet’s story affect you? Describe how.
  2. What does Janet mean when she says that her Aryan features probably saved her life?
  3. The Nazis disseminated messages of hatred toward Jews. What were some of the messages they used to fuel antisemitism?
  4. Why might someone hate someone else merely because they are different from themselves?
  5. What does the term “legacy” mean to you?
  6. Write a letter to Gustawa. Tell her if there are any ways in which you identify with her.
  7. Gustawa, her father, and other Jews who returned to Nowy Targ at the end of the war met with danger even though the war was over. How do you explain this?
  8. How was Gustawa changed by her experiences during and after the war? How have trauma and tragic loss influenced Janet’s identity? How have your own circumstances shaped your character?
  9. Why do you think Gustawa was asked to take a new name when she arrived to register for elementary school?
  10. What does it mean to be resilient? Describe two examples of resilience from Janet’s story, and share a time when you had to recover quickly from challenges in your own life.
  11. Think about the freedoms and security you enjoy. How would you feel if they were taken away from you?
  12. In Janet’s story, why do you think some people chose to look away from injustice while others chose to stand up and make a difference even though it meant risking their own lives? What factors influenced their choices?
  13. Janet wrote that the choices we make can have a ripple effect. What is one thing you can do to make a positive difference?

Becoming Janet: Finding Myself in the Holocaust

Launching May 7, 2024

Available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Facebook: janetapplefield

Instagram: @janetapplefield

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