Hybrid Event: The Last Letter, with Karen Baum Gordon

Tuesday 18th April 2023 @ 18:30pm – 20:00pm 

This event is organised as part of the Holocaust Letters exhibition events series organised by the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership. 

In The Last Letter: A Father’s Struggle, a Daughter’s Quest, and the Long Shadow of the Holocaust, Gordon explores not only her father’s life story, but also the stories and events that shaped the lives of her grandparents—two Holocaust victims that Rudy tried in vain to save in the late 1930s and early years of World War II. This investigation of her family’s history is grounded in eighty-eight letters written mostly by Julie Baum, Rudy’s mother and Karen’s grandmother, to Rudy between November 1936 and October 1941. In five parts, Gordon examines pieces of these well-worn, handwritten letters and other archival documents in order to discover what her family experienced during the Nazi period and the psychological impact that reverberated from it in the generations that followed. 

Part of the Legacies of War series, The Last Letter is a captivating family memoir that spans events from the 1930s and Hitler’s rise to power, through World War II and the Holocaust, to the present-day United States. In recreating the fatal journeys of her grandparents and tracing her father’s efforts to save them an ocean away in America, Gordon discovers the forgotten fragments of her family’s history and a vivid sense of her own Jewish identity. By inviting readers along on this journey, Gordon manages to honor victim and survivor alike and shows subsequent generations—now many years after the tragic events of World War II—what it means to remember. 

About the Speaker: 

A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Business School, Karen Baum Gordon co-founded Strategic Horizons, Inc., an executive coaching and management consulting firm. Karen is a Dallas native and now lives with her husband and black lab in Brooklyn, New York, and South Hero, Vermont. She is an active member of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and recently served as president of the congregation. 

Event guidelines for those joining online: 

  1. The Library will send you a Zoom link and joining instructions via email prior to the event. Please check your junk email folders. 
  1. Please try and join 5 minutes before the event start time and we will let you into the room (do try and bear with us if this takes a few minutes). 
  1. If you would like to ask a question during the event, please type your question into the chat function, and we will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A. Your webcam will not be seen during this event. 
  1. The event will be recorded for the Library’s YouTube channel and will be shared at a later date.