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The Right to Happiness: After All They Went Through

Innovative short stories explore echoes of the Holocaust upon survivors and their children, lessons of post-trauma for the 21st century.


In eleven compelling narratives inheritors of the Holocaust strive to seize whatever life has left to them.


International award-winning author Helen Schary Motro's intimate and poignant fiction paints the panorama of their emotional canvas: renewal as well as trauma, insight as well as sorrow, ingenuity as well as loss. Some fail to recover, while others do all to achieve solace.



·         Unable to pierce her parents' wall of hidden mourning, a child dreams her perished grandparents back to life.


·         A Yiddish actor turns radio host after the war - until his language becomes obsolete. Can he reinvent himself yet again?


·         Hoarding discarded cigarette butts from her parents' ashtrays, a girl smokes in secret to mimic the grandmother who starved in the ghetto.


·         A reluctant piano student learns that master classes teach more than concertos.


·         A survivors' daughter yearns to live her American dream at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but the subway from Brooklyn takes her farther away.


·         Facing Israel's imminent annihilation an assimilated survivor discovers what she really cares about.


Readers will cry at their pain, will smile with recognition -  may even laugh - along with Motro's moving survivors and their children as the past continues to reverberate upon them.



Motro is a magical author. Her stunning stories add a masterful

contribution of love and understanding to humanistic Holocaust


- Shraga Milstein, Holocaust survivor

Mayor of Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel 1983-1998




Helen Schary Motro's The Right to Happiness is a compelling series of short stories, each unique in their own right, readable in isolation, but each building one on the other to offer the most pointed insights into the post-Holocaust experience of survivors and the second generation. Having grown up surrounded by children of survivors and of those who found refuge in the New York on the eve of World War II, I had a deep familiarity with her characters and the world that she depicted and thus an intensified appreciation for what she has achieved. One can read these stories as an elaborate depiction of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in all its variety and intensity. Reading it after October 7th and during a visit to Israel, I wonder how soon in our world, Jews will be able to experience a post-traumatic world, but when they do, they could hardly do better than using Motro as their guide.

 - Michael Berenbaum

Former Director Holocaust Research Institute, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies, Director Sigi Ziering Institute,

American Jewish University



Intimate and gripping tales that tell small human stories yet reveal greater truths. You feel the love and care of the writer for her characters.

- Martin Fletcher, former NBC News Bureau Chief, Israel




Maneuvering between the Headlines: An American Lives through the Intifada

An American living in Israel through the Intifada explores the hope for peace and coexistence in Israel and Palestine.

"Motro's sensitive personal account of daily life in Israel is driven by an intense beat, constantly illuminating the real life drama of Israelis, Palestinians, and expatriate Americans caught up in a momentous struggle for a peaceful existence. A must read for those who are to understand the human dimension of this conflict."

--Martin Indyk, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel