Esther Safran Foer

I Want You to Know We're Still Here
May 26, 2020  -  New Metropolis/Pakhuis De Zwijger

In these uncertain times, the John Adams is doing its utmost to continue to bring you the best and the brightest of American thinking. After our online events with Roger Ross Williams and Francis Fukuyama – you can watch them both on our website – we were happy to host our third online event on Tuesday May 26th, this time with author Esther Safran Foer.

The mother of three renowned authors – Franklin, Jonathan and Joshua – has written a heartfelt memoir exploring the history of her parents and extended family who were killed in Ukraine during World War 2. Her book, I Want You to Know We’re Still Here, has been translated into Dutch by publishing house Spectrum as Ik wil je laten weten dat we er nog zijn.

It was Jonathan Safran Foer’s renowned debut novel Everything Is Illuminated which started Esther’s mission of finding her lost family. But where Jonathan’s search hit a wall – and he used that for a fictional story – Esther’s journey did yield new leads. When Esther’s mother casually mentions an astonishing revelation – that her father had a previous wife and daughter, both killed in the Holocaust – Esther resolves to find out who they were, and how her father survived. She travels to Ukraine, and what she finds reshapes her identity and gives her the opportunity to finally mourn.

If you have not been able to join this discussion about history, mourning, memory and truth, a video is available (on the top right).

Listen to an audio fragment from I Want You to Know We’re Still Here or read an excerpt.

Moderator: Tracy Metz

In collaboration with: Uitgeverij Het Spectrum