Chocolates from Tangier: A Holocaust replacement child’s memoir of art and transformation
How to combine a memoir, a family narrative, and a retrospective of creative art? With grace, diligence, and intense feeling, Jana Zimmer weaves the elements together. Her Holocaust story reminds us that each sequence of recollections is unique. Early pages of Chocolates from Tangier appear to reveal a series of Zimmer’s therapy sessions, a chronicle of her attempts to cope with emotional overload. Then a leap as she shares her realization that her art, mostly photographs and ephemera captured in collages, introduces a visual, complementary account. Turn the pages, pause each time, look then read, over and again.
The cover of this full-color book shows a father walking hand in hand with his daughter. The little girl is taken and assassinated years before the author was born yet remains a profound focus of the book, never obliterated from Zimmer’s own psyche. Both parents were survivors, but her mother’s memories of the captivity, equally traumatic and terrifying, are more detailed and evocative.
Exhibits of her art take Zimmer across Europe, where Berlin is welcoming, Dresden almost hostile. Her Czech heritage supplies unmitigated joy. Chocolates from Tangier is a barely relevant title, but the book haunts.