Anna Salton Eisen

Ms. Salton Eisen after presenting at the TNHOLCOM Summer Institute, June 2023
Ms. Salton Eisen after presenting at the TNHOLCOM Summer Institute, June 2023
Anna Salton Eisen is the author of The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir (A National Jewish Book Awards Finalist in 2022) and Pillar of Salt: A Daughter’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust. She is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and executive producer of the upcoming documentary film In My Father’s Words based on both of her books. Her writing has been published in The Jerusalem Post and The Forward, among others. As the founder of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville Texas, site of the antisemitic synagogue hostage crisis in January 2022, Anna has been featured in numerous major news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR. Anna is an Ambassador to #everynamecounts, a digital initiative of the Arolsen Archives, the world's most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of Nazi persecution. A licensed social worker, Salton Eisen formerly practiced as a therapist, specializing in mental health and trauma.

Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. Ms. Salton Eisen explains how the Nazis destroyed every aspect of the Jewish community in Tyczyn, Poland even before they forced the Jews into the ghetto. What types of things does she describe? What do you think were the social and emotional effects of this destruction on the Jews? How did life change for the Jews when they were forced into the Rzeszow ghetto?
  1. Ms. Salton Eisen shares her mother’s experience of the Holocaust. How did her mother survive? Where did she live during the war? What methods and talents did she use to “blend in” in society?
  1. Ms. Salton Eisen states, “This Holocaust story sometimes feels like it has no bottom.” To what is she referring? Why, even for survivors, are there so few happy endings?

Writing Prompts:

  1. Write a short essay in which you examine this quote, “She (Dr. Deborah Lipstadt) said to me, ‘If the Holocaust itself wasn’t enough to end antisemitism, what will?’ Ms. Salton Eisen then adds, “Maybe nothing. But we keep trying.” Reflect on this. Why do people have a moral responsibility to “keep trying” to fight intolerance and hatred? What can an individual student do to fight against rising antisemitism, prejudice, and intolerance? In what ways can an individual become an upstander? Remember to consider how social media and the internet affect the speed and ease of transmitting information and misinformation.
  2. Write a short essay in which you compare the Holocaust experiences of Ms. Salton Eisen’s father and mother. Where were her parents from? How did each survive? What did her father and mother do following the war?