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No Past Tense
No Past Tense

No Past Tense

Love and Survival in the Shadow of the Holocaust


300 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: EPUB, Cloth, PDF

Cloth, $49.00 (US $49.00) (CA $73.50)

Publication Date: October 2019

ISBN 9781912676101

Rights: US, CA, AU & ZA

Vallentine Mitchell (Oct 2019)


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No Past Tense is the biography of Katarina (Kati) Kellner and William (Willi) Salcer, two Czech Jews who as teenagers were swept up by the Holocaust in Hungary and survived Auschwitz and Mauthausen, respectively. Covering their entire lives, weaving in first person "real time" voices, the unique structure of No Past Tense provides a distinctive "whole life" view of the Holocaust. The book begins with their childhoods, education in Budapest, and 16-year-old Kati meeting 19-year-old Willi in the Jewish ghetto in Plesivec, a Slovak village annexed by Hungary in 1938. After liberation from the camps they returned to discover most Jews were gone, and the villagers did not want them back. In defiance, Kati took up residence in a shed on her family’s property, and in reclaiming what was hers, won Willi’s heart. They lived as smugglers in post-war Europe until immigrating illegally to Palestine in 1946. In 1958, saying he did not want the children to know war, Willi convinced Kati to move to America. 


From prewar Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz and Mauthausen, and from pre-State Israel to New York City, the journey of Willi and Kati Salcer is an unforgettable testimony of resiliency and reinvention. Once I began reading, I could not put this book down, and details of the Salcers’ journeys will stay with me for a long time. No Past Tense deserves a place on the bookshelf with classic Holocaust memoirs. Amy Gottlieb, author, The Beautiful Possible

Author Biography

D.Z. Stone is a journalist with academic training in cultural anthropology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and Newsday.