Hats of Glass is a collection of short stories about the children of Holocaust survivors. This book tells the tale of the Second Generation which is ostensibly growing up in a world that has undergone a healing process. But in this world sons and daughters bear their parents' scars and cannot escape the torment of the past. In "A Personal Holocaust," Daphne undergoes a violent experience in London which turns into her own personal holocaust. Her mother had lost her first family in the Holocaust and the trauma takes the form of a reliving of her mother's tragedy. In "Music Doesn't Cover," a young German woman named Veronica falls in love with an Israeli, the son of Holocaust survivors. She chooses to identify with the victims and confronts the past courageously. In the final story "Epilogue," a young Israeli woman visits the death camp of Auschwitz and encounters a Holocaust survivor who decides to return to the site where he had lost everyone he loved forty years earlier. He says, "There great darkness emerged. They say time heals. They say I will be healed. I am grateful for the sun and the new light, but on the heads of my children, my anguish and torment sit like a hat of glass."
"Hats of Glass" by Nava Semel
Translated by Noriko Higuchi
Issued June 15, 2023
List price 2,200 yen (excluding tax)
Specifications 46 size/Normal/207 pages
Nava Semel (1954-2017) was born in Tel Aviv. She had an MA in art history from Tel Aviv University and worked as a journalist, art critic and TV, radio and recording producer. Semel published novels, short stories, poetry, plays, children's books and a number of TV scripts. Many of her stories have been adapted for radio, film, TV and the stage in Israel, Europe and the USA. Her novel, And the Rat Laughed, has been made into an opera; it is also being made into a feature film, directed by David Fisher. Her children's book, The Girl in the Gong, was performed on stage as a very successful musical in a co-production between Beit Lessin Theater and the Holon Mediatheque in 2012. Semel was a member of the Massua Institute of Holocaust Studies and was on the board of governors of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
Semel received several literary prizes, including the American National Jewish Book Award for Children's Literature (1990), the Women Writers of the Mediterranean Award (1994), the Prime Minister's Prize (1996), the Austrian Best Radio Drama Award (1996), the Rosenblum Prize for Stage Arts (2005), and Tel Aviv's Literary Woman of the Year (2007). Most recently, her y/a book, Love for Beginners, received the One of the Best Seven Prize awarded by Radio Germany (2010) as well as the Educators and Scientists Association Award (Germany, 2010).