When her son was born, Tammy Bottner experienced flashbacks of being hunted by the Nazis. The strange thing is, these experiences didn’t happen to her. They happened to her grandmother decades earlier and thousands of miles away in Belgium.
In AMONG THE REEDS: The True Story of How a Family Survived The Holocaust (Amsterdam Publishers; 2017), author Tammy Bottner recounts the unthinkable choices her grandmother Melly made in order to save her family during WWII, which included sending her two-year-old son, Bottner’s father, into hiding in a lonely Belgian convent.
Did the trauma that Tammy Bottner’s predecessors experience affect their DNA? Did she inherit the “memories” of the war-time trauma in her very genes? Could her inherited memories be explained by epigenetics, the science that explores how things that happen to us modify our genes? “Those modified genes are passed onto to our children in that slightly altered state so we literally inherit past events from our ancestors,” says Bottner.
The Holocaust destroyed the lives of millions of Jews. In this gentle memoir, Tammy Bottner rescues several of those lives from oblivion by telling their story. – Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
“I had this happen to me ,” Bottner adds. “What we know is that there are some changes in children of Holocaust survivors that predispose them to anxiety and that these children have an abnormal level of cortisol, a stress hormone.”
In this moving family memoir, told partly from Melly’s perspective, the author tells the saga of her family’s experiences during the Holocaust. This tale, part history, part scientific reflection on epigenetics, takes the reader on a journey that may read like a novel, but is all the more fascinating for being true.
“Beautifully and sensitively told and profoundly universal. Among the Reeds sheds light on the tragic past, helps us appreciate the present and inspires a more hopeful future.”—Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., author of several bestselling books, including Happier and Choose the Life You Want.