English Edition

Identity - From Holocaust to Home by Elke Babicki

German Edition

Ubern Ozean Book Cover

Identity – From Holocaust to Home

What happens to a child as the offspring carrying the legacy of Nazi Germany? What is growing up in post war Germany like? In ‘Identity – From Holocaust to Home’, Elke tells the story of her upbringing in Germany and reflects upon her life. The book inspires resilience and determination to pursue the life one wants to create.

An Amazon #1 Best Seller

#1 best selling book
best sellers in German history

This Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day I’ll never forget.

Many years ago when I read Viktor Frankl’s book Search for Meaning, I was mesmerized. He not only survived the camps but could rely on his education as a neurologist and philosopher to help him visualize what he was going to do afterwards. He created a marvellous legacy and has been an inspiration to so many, including myself.

I am so glad Alex, my dad, who was only fifteen when he was shipped to the camps, has now a chance to speak through me. He was there with Viktor on Amazon, both an inspiration for their teachings on human resilience!

I hope they are both smiling down on us for Identity and its teachings of life lessons to make it to #1 on Amazon’s hot new bestsellers in German History.

North Shore News Feature

Elke Babicki North Shore News Feature

Elke Babicki poses with portraits of her parents and the new English translation of her memoir. ‘Identity: From Holocaust to Home’
Photo courtesy of Paul McGrath, North Shore News

Elke Babicki has been waiting her whole life to tell this story.

In 2017, Babicki, a longtime West Vancouver resident, got her first chance to tell that story with the publication of Übern Ozean in her native Germany.

And with a new translation set to publish, Babicki is now ready for English-speaking readers to learn about her family’s tale of survival during the Nazi regime, the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and ultimately, finding the will and resolve to move on.

Babicki’s memoir, Identity: From Holocaust to Home, will launch in English on Jan. 27 to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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“Beautifully written”

“A beautifully written and most unusual contribution to the literature of the Holocaust. Elke Babicki weaves an amazing story of survival and heroism in Nazi Germany, addressing the tyranny of PTSD, the fragility of identity and the life-altering vagaries of fortune. Identity demonstrates the tragic reach of the Holocaust, and the courage of all survivors and their children.”

— R. D. Rosen, author of Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust’s Hidden Child Survivors

“Babicki transforms her family’s history into a tale with universal meaning. Her writing finely captures the impact of the Holocaust and explores the human capacity for transformation. It is a deeply personal account that carries valuable lessons for us all.”

— Victor Chan, co-author of Wisdom of Forgiveness and Wisdom of Compassion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“Identity is a carefully researched and compellingly written masterpiece as the author navigates this complex legacy, which raises every conceivable question of human meaning and resilience.”

— Stephen G. Post, PhD., Professor of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, New York

“A riveting page-turner which holds your attention right through to the end.”

— Caroline Sutherland, author of The Body Knows


Elke Babicki at a speaking Engagement

Elke Babicki at her German book launch.

author Elke Babicki with cover designer Sophie

Elke Babicki (left) and journalist/editor Sophie Schattenkirchner.

Elke Babicki book signing crowd

Elke attends a sold-out book signing event.

Visit My Personal Site

Elke Babicki at her book launch Across the Ocean in Germany where over 200 people crowded the historical library in the town’s castle. Elke is bringing her book to the English speaking world under a new title Identity – from Holocaust to Home. It is available on Amazon January 27, 2021.

Not many people peer over the abyss, but my family did. My German grandfather objected to Hitler and was thrown into a concentration camp and my mother’s family became destitute. My father’s educated and wealthy Jewish family in Poland was sent to camps where he lost track of all of them. My father spent five years in concentration camps before making his escape. He was ​taken in and cared for by German farmers, and later met my mother, a Bavarian Catholic. The war that should have set my parents apart actually brought them together. My father, who was only 15 when he was taken, lost his chance for higher education and made his living as the owner of a butcher store. I describe what life had become and how I grew up as a result.

To most outside observers, my parents’ lives would seem to be a success story. As the owners of a popular delicatessen and butcher shop, they were well respected members of their community. But my father was never able to move beyond the fact that the life his parents had planned for him was stolen away, along with his family and even his country. In his own mind, he would always be a settler in a foreign land, and he would never be all that he could have become. My father’s scars, both physical and emotional, were especially deep, and my mother was his continued support.

As their only child, it became my mission in life to be good and not give them anything more to worry about. As a teenager, however, I began to resent that role and rebelled by trying to be a normal kid. That meant dating and kissing boys—particularly German boys (meaning boys who weren’t Jewish), which sent my father into an emotional tailspin.

I know now that my dad was suffering the torments of PTSD well before the term was actually coined. Ultimately, the only way I could manage to define my own future was to create a physical distance, which led me first to Toronto. There I completed my Masters Degree in Psychology at the University of Toronto and then worked as a consultant to businesses, individuals and families. I moved to Vancouver where I’ve been a successful therapist for 25 years.

Mine is not intended to be a morality tale, but there is a moral to my story. In the end, I believe, it is not the hand we are dealt that matters, but our resilience in the face of adversity—the ability to persevere despite our fears and to keep moving forward. More and more people these days are looking for a purpose greater than themselves in their lives, and it is my hope that what I have to say will help readers find a way to connect with what they are seeking.

The story attracts a core readership concerned with learning from history, effects of immigration or dealing with other obstacles within their own country. It is a coming of age story and the book can be utilized as a teaching tool for younger readers. In addition, it reaches beyond this more obvious core and attracts readers of memoir in the tradition of bestseller such as Educated and The Glass Castle. And finally, there is a spiritual component to the story which speaks to readers who are seeking some kind of greater meaning in their life.

Elke Babicki’s journey of publishing in Germany first lead to History Collectives, the company under which the English Version is published.

Contact Elke

    Contact Elke