My Name is Alice is a first-person Alice Muller memoir, an indomitable courageous spirit, told by her as she views things in the voice of her age at the time of the Holocaust in Czechoslovakia.
My Name is Alice Paperback –
Chapters One and Two along with photos of Alice Muller
Alice will move you, make you want to finish the book in one reading. You will learn about places and times no longer here, about heroism, about acts of kindness remembered for three quarters of a century and now passed on to you, with her diagrams of places and streets, and also a lesson plan for tolerance.
Timelines included for those who want to understand the context. The book is best read and shared with family members, including those who were alive at or near that time.
We recommend parental guidance for younger children. You will treasure this keepsake, its cheerful inside and out despite the horrors that Alice endures.
The book is for all people of all faiths. Descriptions of Jewish customs are all explained, and any Yiddish or Hebrew words are translated.
This book is easy to read because of large print and cream pages, and it is easy to read because you will be captured by Alice’s voice. We hope you will find it moving and life altering. And a little child shall lead them!
Holocaust in Czechoslovakia Book By Survivor
Alice Muller Memoir –
Forward to My Name is Alice
It is my privilege to comment on this history of a young child in the Holocaust. This work portrays, through early memories in the town of Michalovce, what life was like for Jews in pre-war Slovakia.
It provides factual information on the Slovakian Holocaust by first person testimony, which makes this book a critical historic document at a time when such testimony is harder to obtain.
This work is an inspirational narrative of one little girl who survived against all odds; though 83 percent of the Jewish citizens of Slovakia were murdered, 95 percent of children under fourteen were annihilated.
But Alice’s book also serves to illustrate the effects of the Holocaust on its child survivors.
It illustrates the effect of an early childhood perspective on life that remains to inform an entire lifetime. It documents the massive trauma at early developmental stages that can
only be mastered by being passed to each successive generation in retelling, naming, and in testimony and here, in this publication.
Loss of parental figures can never be fully resolved because throughout much of their lives, children survivors last saw their parents alive and well and did not know the actual mechanisms of mass killing of the Third Reich, so it is easy to understand why such survivors spent decades still hoping for their parents’ return.
Child survivors and their new families wait in limbo, and time becomes malleable, where once the return of these loved ones happens, childhood life can magically restart as if there was no catastrophic interruption.
Once the knowledge of the likely mechanism of murder has been received, there is no gravesite to visit and no headstone to make, just missing ones, or unidentified parts in mass graves, or tons of ash.
The knowledge that human beings can be branded as animals, and that their parts can be used in manufacture, set a new low for humanity, and a sense of peril for their safety imbues such survivors’ beliefs.
What we now recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder is nearly universal among Holocaust survivors because of the degree of trauma and the bizarre nature of the trauma.
Though children may be resilient to a greater extent, early malnutrition and loss of parental figures increase the degree of these symptoms. So, such children in adult life carry fear of low flying planes, fear of registration in any form, fear of showers in case they are gas, and all these fears are adaptive in that they serve as protection.
However, we can understand that the vigilance that once was adaptive can interfere in peacetime with adaptation to ‘normal’ life.
What you will also see here is the tremendous courage and strength such children have displayed in youth, becoming adults as children. And it also has given survivors an edge on calamities, knowing how to adapt, paying attention to, and warning others of, pending calamities, as has been seen with COVID when many just chose instead to use the defense of denial.
Because of the lack of early milestones of educational achievement, many survivors feel insecure about themselves, yet they mastered what most of us in America could not:
- they left their previous homes and communities, often without any finances, possessions, and
- navigated paperwork and interviews,
- traveled by ship to new countries they have blessed with lawful contributions to their new homelands,
- where they learned new languages and new cultures and studied to become proud and thankful citizens.
In schema compensatory action, they often became leaders of their fields, or they raised homes and gave children the names of the murdered to renew life.
And their progeny uniquely went into fields of service in overwhelming majority, to try to heal the horror. Many became physicians, many entered the mental health field, many worked with survivors and dedicated their lives to advocacy for survivors.
So it appears that despite lack of formalities of education, these survivors managed some level of success despite inner trauma.
As survivors age, disabilities and limitations recreate the sense of helplessness of the Holocaust, and cause fear because the need to be on guard is so valued for survival.
Limited social access by disability or by pandemic further enhances the loneliness of having an experience that with Gods help, few will ever be able to comprehend.
To that end, Alice has written down this Holocaust memoir in the hope that her experiences will kindle a desire for more knowledge of what happened to so many millions, and for our youth to be able to connect to what she experienced with all the details that are provided by Alice in this remarkable work.
Her book is divided into sections, and early chapters can be read to a four-year-old. It is designed as something that can be read intergenerationally, and to advance in the book as development proceeds.
Of course, the irony is that Alice at age six had no way to opt out of the current events, of seeing teachers who wore insignia of those people who wished to kill her. And of course, the later sections are suitable for adults, but you will be able to hear Alice’s voice as she goes through all of this as a child.
It has been an honor to help bring this testimony to the written page and we hope it will help increase understanding among peoples and make Never Again a reality.
Dr Tzipporah Bat-Ami – 2023
Copyrighted Material 2024
Alice Muller Memoir – Beginners (Chapter One)
My name is Alice. Well, I guess you already know that from the title! But this is the story of how I got my name, and who I became once I had it.
I was born on a summer’s day a long time ago. The year was 1932. I was born in a country 4000 miles away, on a continent called Europe.
Its name was Czechoslovakia. It had a different language and customs from us. I was born in a town called Michalovce, which has a guttural sound in the first c, and the second c is pronounced like the sound tse in tse-tse fly.
It is in the eastern part of the country, and you can see my town circled in red in the map on the next page. I am also adding a postcard picture of the railroad station. It’s very pretty, but it will seem different later.
In those days, babies were often born at home, so I was born at 24 Slobodna Ulice. That means 24 Liberty Street. And of course, there was sunshine when I was born!
My father was named Herman Muller, and I called him Opu. My mother was named Esther Klein Muller, and I called her Onyu. I had an older brother Norbert, and I called him Norbert.
Pictures of me and my family. From left to right, are my mother, father, my brother Norbert, and me.
So just like there are rules here, there were rules in my country, but it was not the same.
In my country, Jews were not permitted to carry names in the Bible, so when my father rushed to register my birth and said I was to be called Rachel, the town clerk said that was not allowed, and he decided that my name should be Rosalie because it started with the same letter, and filled out the documents with that name.
When my father came home to tell my mother that my name was now Rosalie, she said in no way was her baby going to be called Rosalie.
She said that Alica, pronounced with a soft c, was a popular stylish name, and that would be my name, though my Hebrew name remained Rachel, pronounced with a guttural c. and just so you know, my brother had a Hebrew name too, Nachum, and my father’s Hebrew name was Tzvi, or Herschel and my mother’s Hebrew name was Esther.
We were a wonderful family living in a Jewish home.
Alice Muller Memoir – My Name is Alice
First, I would like to tell you how my home looked from the outside.
When my parents first got married in 1930, and moved to Michalovce, they moved into a large apartment in the fancier section of the ell of 24 Slobodna Ulice that faced the Slobodna street.
There was a fence separating the two sections, and at that time, my parents worked in a small tavern adjacent to their apartment.
After my brother was born in 1931, my mother was unable to continue working in the tavern due to child care, so they moved to a smaller apartment to save money.
This was where I was born, but because my mother was known far and wide as a beauty, and my father was so in love with her, he schlepped the vanity mirror he had bought her to the new apartment so she could adorn herself as befits a woman with such regal bearing!
Because of the ell structure, our new apartment faced the courtyard, which you will see later made all the difference in the world to us. My apartment was on the first floor above a short stoop and I could play in the grass when I came outside.
My neighbors adjacent to us were also a Jewish family, and they also had kids.
There was no apartment above us. The only time I ever saw the original apartment where my parents first resided, was when my mother needed a seamstress, and I went to bring clothes to tailor to the woman living there. More on her later.
I drew you a diagram so you could see the layout, on the next page. I also have an aerial view of a similar space in more modern times, so you can appreciate the layout that way too.” (Drawing not available for this free excerpt.
END ALICE MULLER MEMOIR – MY NAME IS ALICE EXCERPT
All materials, words, and photos from:
My Name is Alice Copyright 2024 Alice Muller and Dr. Tzipporah Bat-Ami