The But­ter­fly and the Axe

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

In Spring 1944 a Jew­ish fam­i­ly is mur­dered in a remote Ukrain­ian vil­lage. Who were they? Who were the killers? Three gen­er­a­tions lat­er, an Israeli woman and a British man of Ukrain­ian ori­gins set out to find out how their fam­i­lies were impli­cat­ed in this crime. They also dis­cov­er how this untold mur­der has warped their own lives. Nar­rat­ed by an unnamed his­to­ri­an, and based on frag­ments of mem­o­ries, tes­ti­monies, diaries, let­ters, and con­fes­sions, this nov­el seeks to fill a gap in the his­tor­i­cal record of the Holo­caust by reimag­in­ing those who were mur­dered and erased from mem­o­ry and to shed light on the trans­gen­er­a­tional effects of trau­ma. The book is writ­ten by Holo­caust his­to­ri­an Omer Bar­tov, author of the acclaimed study Anato­my of a Geno­cide, win­ner of the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award. Bar­tov was born in Israel and teach­es his­to­ry at Brown Uni­ver­si­ty. His moth­er emi­grat­ed from Gali­cia to Pales­tine before World War II. Most of the rest of his fam­i­ly were mur­dered under unknown cir­cum­stances in the Holocaust.

Discussion Questions