It Started with a Dream: How Oxana Lapchuk Wrote The Journalist, a Holocaust Story

It Started with a Dream: How Oxana Lapchuk Wrote The Journalist, a Holocaust Story

Welcome to the second installment of the Sunbury Press author journey series!

In every book, there's a story. And not just the one between its pages.

Every author has a different journey for how they ended up with the incredible book that landed in our inbox. Sure, we loved the book that they sent to us--enough to publish it and share with you all--but we wanted to know what it took for them to write that book, what drove them toward publication, and to get to know them better as artists.

And instead of keeping those answers to ourselves, we thought--to hell with it, let's share it with YOU.

We are thrilled to continue this new author-centric series with the inspirational Oxana Lapchuk, author of The Journalist: A Holocaust Story.


"It Started with a Dream"

by Oxana Lapchuk

Oxana Lapchuk author journey

My book journey started ten years ago on May 5, 2010 when I dreamed that I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby. The baby was chunky and laughed profusely. While I knew I wouldn’t be having a baby, I did know that God was speaking to me in a different way; instead, he was telling me that I'd bring something new into the world. To me, that meant it was finally time to write a book about the story that meant the most to me: my father’s holocaust experiences.

Now, this happened right around the time that I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Thanks to the dream, I had newfound confidence that I would beat it and that my book-baby would become a reality. I needed to focus on it, not the cancer. I had surgery shortly after the dream, cutting out the need for chemo or radiation and giving me inspiration to get to work.

But when I focused my attention toward the book, I found that there were many challenges to getting it written.

First and foremost, my father had died 20 years earlier. I had to recall my conversations with him about his experiences and dig through his records and documents (he was a journalist) to try to piece it all together. I found some old photos that shed some light on his timeline and was able to get a clearer picture. However, I knew it wasn’t enough; I needed to go to the actual concentration camps to get further clarification.

In 2018, a friend of mine connected me to a German teacher who focused on the Holocaust. I spoke to her about my father’s history in Buchenwald and working in the underground tunnels of the Dora-Mittlebau complex. She helped me locate someone at the Buchenwald Memorial who was able to gather even more documents about his personal information while he was at the camps.

I made arrangements with her to pick us up at the train station in Nordhausen, Germany and to take us to the underground tunnels in Dora-Mittlebau. They only opened the tunnels in 2006 so we were able to take a tour and see for ourselves the horrible working conditions that the prisoners had to endure.

Then she drove us to Buchenwald—about an hour away. We met with the head of the Memorial Archives and she had all the documents ready for me. We spent an hour going over everything, and I realized that some of my information was not accurate.

So I had to make some revisions as to my father’s timeline while in the different camps. The most amazing experience for me was when they took me to the actual spot where my father slept in the barracks in the “Little Camp.” It was block 63. I stood on that grassy spot where there was once a building. It was as if I was walking in his footsteps and reliving some of his experiences.  I couldn’t believe it.

When I went back to the states, I immediately started rewriting to make it as accurate as possible. At the time I was thinking I might self-publish it, but I wasn’t young anymore and didn’t have the time or the finances to go through that whole process. I had been a member of the Florida Writers Association and found out they were having a conference in October 2018 near my city.  So, I went.

At the conference, I made an appointment to meet with Lawrence Knorr of Sunbury Press, Inc. To my surprise, he was actually interested in publishing it! And one year later, my book (and my father's story) was published.

Some amazing things have happened since it got published. I was able to reconnect with friends that I hadn’t been in touch with for 45 years. I was able to reconnect with an old roommate. But the most amazing connection was with a woman whose father is in several chapters of the book. His name was Stefan, and he was arrested along with my father and spent some time with him in two of the camps. They were in Buchenwald together and my father’s prisoner number was 25362 (adds up to 18) which in the Hebrew means “life” and her father’s number was 25363.

She lives in Idaho and had done a lot of research about her father and had also been trying to locate my father as well.  When she found my book on the internet, she was amazed and told me the book filled in a lot of gaps for her. Her father had died in 1998, and before the war was studying to be a priest in Lviv, Ukraine. Our fathers never reconnected after the war once they moved to the states.

Writing and researching this book has been an amazing journey and has opened up a lot of doors for me. I’ll even be doing an event at the local holocaust center here in my town in the fall, and the local paper has written an article about me and the book. My old alma mater even has two of my books in their libraries!

I’m excited about where else the wind will take this book, especially if it can get out to those who need it. One of the reasons for writing it was to give hope to many people out there who are facing challenging situations. I believe they’ll find help in the principles my father practiced that enabled him to overcome and triumph in the midst of his adverse circumstances.


About the Author

This is an author photo of Oxana Lapchuk, author of the journalist a holocaust story

Oxana Lapchuk was born in New York, New York the same year her father emigrated to the United States. A lifelong student of Ukrainian history and culture, she has worked as an interpreter in Ukraine and Israel and now lives in Florida. This is her first book.


Praise for The Journalist: A Holocaust Story

Buy the Book

Get 15% OFF at Sunbury Store

3 True Stories from the Holocaust

3 True Stories from the Holocaust

It is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Days of Remembrance Week. 

Orchestrated by the US Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Holocaust Days of Remembrance Week is dedicated to observances and remembrance activities nationwide between April 19, 2020 to the April 26, 2020.

To join in on this week of remembrance, we're turning to three amazing true stories from the Holocaust, as published by Sunbury Press.


3 Unbelievable True Stories from the Holocaust 


About the Books

The Journalista story unlike any other Holocaust memoir, not only depicts life in a concentration camp, but also the death marches, a bold escape, the days of wandering in the forest dodging Nazi troops, the unceasing pangs of hunger that were finally satiated, the years of searching and longing to live in a free country. This is a book you cannot put down because it draws you into the life of the journalist and compels you to keep reading to find out the outcome of his fate. Will he live to fulfill his destiny or will his life be cut short because the chances of his surviving seemed impossible?

The Journalist is not just a book about how one man survived the Holocaust, but also the principles he practiced that eventually allowed him to triumph in the midst of overwhelming odds. This fast-paced true story leaves the reader breathless and astonished at the tenacity and resolve of the journalist to forge ahead when others gave up the struggle. There are many people out there who are facing challenging situations, and they need to have hope to believe that as they practice the same principles that the journalist practiced, they, too, will be able to triumph, for truly the human spirit is indomitable and can overcome any obstacle. The end result: hope that eventually produces victory over our circumstances.

Shop small business!

Shop big business

Displaced is Linda Schwab’s Holocaust memoir, a retelling of her experience surviving 18 months in a man-made cave, another year as an exile in Poland and Germany, and three years as a refugee in a displaced persons camp. Just six years old when a band of Nazi soldiers arrived in her tiny shtetl in Myadel, Poland, Linda observed atrocities no child ever needs to witness. With her parents and two brothers, during the summer of 1942, Linda was forcibly relocated into a ghetto where most of the Jewish men were led to the nearby forest and killed in a pogrom. After the massacre, Linda escaped with her family into the Ponar Forest, but only after evading Polish nationals and Nazis that patrolled Poland's countryside. Deep in the woods, Linda’s family lived in a cave. They survived brutal winters, eluded partisan fighters that might force Linda’s father to leave the family, and remained out of sight from Nazis and Polish police, who at one point, came only feet from their dugout.

Written with historian Todd M. Mealy during a time when Holocaust deniers aim to rehabilitate the Nazi ideology and as roughly 400,000 survivors remain with us, Displaced presents Schwab’s singular voice. Her narrative will help maintain—if not bolster—Holocaust knowledge, as her story of surviving the Polish wilderness during WWII and in a Displaced Persons Camp after the war is unique from most accounts. Displaced will inspire the rest of us to confront hatred in its many forms.

Shop small business!

Shop big business

Ten children. Some survived with the help of others. Some survived on their own. Some not only survived but helped others survive as well. Each of their stories, like each of them, is different. Their experiences are different. But taken together, with each story in its own historical context, they provide a broad understanding of the struggles of those who survived and those who didn’t.

Shop small business!

Shop big business


Stay tuned for more from Sunbury Press!

Thanks for checking out these amazing true stories from the Holocaust! We have over 700 titles to choose from--the best in fiction and nonfiction through various imprints--and we love helping you find your next favorite book!

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Linda Schwab and Todd Mealy’s “Displaced” is the Sunbury Press bestseller for February

Linda Schwab and Todd Mealy’s “Displaced” is the Sunbury Press bestseller for February

SUNBURY PRESS / DISTELFINK PRESS / OXFORD SOUTHERN – Bestsellers for February 2020 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 1 Displaced Linda Schwab Holocaust Memoir
2 10 I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It? Clarissa Jacobson Self-Help
3 8 Surviving: A Kent State Memoir Paula Tucker Memoir
4 Embattled Freedom Jim Remsen History
5 Baseball Under the Palms Sam Zygner Baseball
6 5 The Last Ride of the Iron Horse Dan Joseph Baseball
7 NEW The Blood Letter Helga Rist Memoir
8 24 The Life and Loves of Thaddeus Stevens Mark Singel History
9 26 The Foreman’s Boys William Marcum History
10 16 The Journalist Oxana Lapchuk Holocaust Memoir
11 As the Paint Dries Carrie Wissler-Thomas History
12 7 Cruel Death, Heartless Aftermath Barbara Mancini Memoir
13 NEW Golden Beauty Boss Cheryl Brooks Biography
14 20 Gods, Philosophers, and Scientists Scott Hendrix Science
15 NEW What to Do About Mama? 2 ed Barbara Matthews Self-Help
16 1780: Year of Revenge John L. Moore History
17 29 Raising Monarchs Sue Fox McGovern Nature
18 11 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, 2nd Ed. Mike Campbell History
19 Scorched Earth: General Sullivan and the Senecas John L. Moore History
20 23 Collission Course William Cook Basketball
21 Prohibition’s Prince Guy Graybill Biography
22 In the Company of Patriots Virginia Brackett Biography
23 American Citizen Benjamin Myers Biography
24 Pioneers, Prisoners, and Peacepipes John L. Moore History
25 6 What Springs of Rain Lindsay Lough Nature
26 Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps John L. Moore History
27 Forts, Forests, and Flintlocks John L. Moore History
28 15 Dead Center Jason Altmire Politics
29 Rivers, Raiders, and Renegades John L. Moore History
30 Traders, Travelers, and Tomahawks John L. Moore History

Displaced: A Holocaust Memoir and the Road to a New Beginning

Displaced is Linda Schwab’s Holocaust memoir, a retelling of her experience surviving 18 months in a man-made cave, another year as an exile in Poland and Germany, and three years as a refugee in a displaced persons camp. Just six years old when a band of Nazi soldiers arrived in her tiny shtetl in Myadel, Poland, Linda observed atrocities no child ever needs to witness. With her parents and two brothers, during the summer of 1942, Linda was forcibly relocated into a ghetto where most of the Jewish men were led to the nearby forest and killed in a pogrom. After the massacre, Linda escaped with her family into the Ponar Forest, but only after evading Polish nationals and Nazis that patrolled Poland’s countryside. Deep in the woods, Linda’s family lived in a cave. They survived brutal winters, eluded partisan fighters that might force Linda’s father to leave the family, and remained out of sight from Nazis and Polish police, who at one point, came only feet from their dugout.
Written with historian Todd M. Mealy during a time when Holocaust deniers aim to rehabilitate the Nazi ideology and as roughly 400,000 survivors remain with us, Displaced presents Schwab’s singular voice. Her narrative will help maintain—if not bolster—Holocaust knowledge, as her story of surviving the Polish wilderness during WWII and in a Displaced Persons Camp after the war is unique from most accounts. Displaced will inspire the rest of us to confront hatred in its many forms.
by Linda Schwab and Todd M. Mealy, Ph.D.
SUNBURY PRESS
Trade paperback – 6 x 9 x .8
9781620063866
128 Pages
HISTORY / Holocaust
HISTORY / Jewish
HISTORY / Europe / Eastern
Linda Schwab and Todd Mealy’s “Displaced” is the Sunbury Press bestseller for January

Linda Schwab and Todd Mealy’s “Displaced” is the Sunbury Press bestseller for January

SUNBURY PRESS / DISTELFINK PRESS / OXFORD SOUTHERN – Bestsellers for January 2020 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 1 Displaced Linda Schwab Holocaust Memoir
2 17 Do You, Without Them Calvin Richardson Musical Memoir
3 Tulpehocken Trail Traces Steve Troutman History
4 My War and Welcome to It Tom Copeland Vietnam Memoir
5 2 The Last Ride of the Iron Horse Dan Joseph Baseball
6 22 What Springs of Rain Lindsay Lough Nature
7 4 Cruel Death, Heartless Aftermath Barbara Mancini Memoir
8 Surviving: A Kent State Memoir Paula Tucker Memoir
9 25 Wrestling with George Miles Richards History
10 5 I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It? Clarissa Jacobson Self-Help
11 10 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, 2nd Ed. Mike Campbell History
12 Freemasons at Gettysburg Sheldon Munn History
13 11 The Most Hated Man in America Mark Pendergrast True Crime
14 7 The 1932 Yankees Ronald Januaryer Baseball
15 27 Dead Center Jason Altmire Politics
16 8 The Journalist Oxana Lapchuk Holocaust Memoir
17 Keeping the Lights on for Ike Rebecca Daniels History
18 24 Bows, Bullets, and Bears John L. Moore History
19 Ingrid Newkirk Jon Hochschartner Biography
20 21 Gods, Philosophers, and Scientists Scott Hendrix Science
21 30 Bandstandland Larry Lehmer History
22 Call Sign Dracula Joe Fair Vietnam Memoir
23 19 Collission Course William Cook Basketball
24 The Life and Loves of Thaddeus Stevens Mark Singel History
25 The Trevorton, Mahanoy and Susquehanna Railroad Steve Troutman History
26 6 The Foreman’s Boys William Marcum History
27 NEW The Fighting Parson of the American Revolution Edward Hocker Biography
28 Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania George Donehoo History
29 15 Raising Monarchs Sue Fox McGovern Nature
30 Geology of the Mahanoy, Mahantongo and Lykens Valleys Steve Troutman History

Warsaw uprising during WW2 subject of Marie Sontag YA novel "Rising Hope"

WARSAW, PolandSunbury Press has released Rising Hope, Marie Sontag’s historical YA novel, the first of theWarsaw Rising trilogy.

About the Book:
rh_fcLooking back, eighteen-year-old Tadzio realized that it all began when his father walked out on him September 8, 1939. That same day, his Scoutmaster challenged Tadzio and his friends to give their all for Poland. At first, thirteen-year-old Tadzio said no. Now, five years later, the Germans still occupied Poland. But at least Tadzio rose to the challenge. And he still had hope. This is how it began.

“Rising Hope is an homage to all Polish teenagers who fought the German evil so bravely during WWII. A must read.”

— Julian Kulski Author of The Color of Courage, 2014. Kulski, son of the Polish mayor of Warsaw, was ten when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, and twelve when he joined Warsaw’s fight against the Germans.

“With a unique set of characters, Sontag’s book transfers readers into the atmosphere and situation in Poland during 1939-1945. It is written with passion for the events and reveals the author’s respect and compassion for the people and the disastrous events that transpired.”

— Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm Author of Kaia, Heroine of the 1944 Warsaw Rising.

Excerpt:
Palmiry, Poland – September 8, 1939

THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD TADZIO STOOD IN THE FRONT HALLWAY of the family’s summerhouse and watched his father walk out the door. “Why do you have to leave now, Father?” he shouted at him. “We need you. The war…” he broke off.

Tadzio’s father turned around. “I’m sorry I haven’t spent much time with you this past year. Until today, I never really understood how important your Scouting activities were. Now I need to leave on a special business trip, and I’m not sure when I’ll be back.”

Tadzio looked down and stared at a spot on the hardwood floor where the late morning sun leaked in through the open doorway.

“I can’t give you any details.” His father reached out and lifted Tadzio’s chin. “When I get back I’ll explain everything.” Catching Tadzio by surprise, his father pulled him into a close embrace. “I love you.” He then turned and left.

Tadzio longed to yell, “Of course you’re leaving. That’s what you always do. Why should today be any different?” He also wished he could run after his father, wrap his arms around his waist and shout, “No, don’t go Poppa. Don’t leave now, don’t ever leave us again!” Instead, Tadzio just stood with his hands at his sides and said nothing.

An hour earlier, Tadzio’s sixteen-year-old patrol leader, Andrzej, had driven Tadzio’s Scoutmaster and two other boys from Tadzio’s Scout troop to their family’s summer home. Without any explanation, Tadzio’s father and the Scoutmaster, Professor Handelsman, went into his father’s library where they spoke in hushed tones for almost thirty minutes. Tadzio quickly learned that the two Scouts who arrived with Andrzej and the professor had no idea why they were there, except that Professor Handelsman asked them to come.

Now the professor joined Tadzio’s family out on the white-columned porch as the family watched their father leave. Tadzio’s mother held little four-year-old Henio’s hand. Tadzio’s older sister, Magdalena, sniffled and wiped her tears with her embroidered handkerchief.

Tadzio’s father walked across the yard and into the barn. He returned a moment later dragging two heavy suitcases. After hoisting them into the back seat of Andrzej’s black Fiat 518, he slid in next to the patrol leader on the passenger’s side. Andrzej revved the car’s engine, throwing out the heady, nauseous stench of petrol. Seconds later he pulled out of the gravel driveway and onto the forest-lined road.

“Andrzej will return in about an hour,” the professor explained. “Tadzio and Magdalena, I’d like you and the other Scouts to meet me in the library when he returns. I will tell you what you need to know at that time.”

Tadzio opened his mouth, about to say, “Tell us now,” but the professor’s pressed lips kept Tadzio silent. As he usually did when frustrated or depressed, Tadzio went to the ebony Böesendorfer grand piano in the far corner of the parlor and practiced his scherzo. The other Scouts all went their separate ways until Andrzej returned from his mysterious errand.

Sontag_Dagger11About the Author
Dr. Marie Sontag taught middle school for over 15 years. She has a BA in Social Science, and an MA and PhD in Education. www.mariesontag.com

Rising Hope
Authored by Marie Sontag
List Price: $16.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
228 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065563
ISBN-10: 1620065568
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Historical / Holocaust

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Rising-Hope-978162006556…