The Making of Torn Thread

an interview with the author, Anne Isaacs

The story is based on the experiences of your mother-in-law Eva, who worked in the labor camp you describe in Parschnitz, Czechoslovakia. What other sources did you use in writing your story?

I spent five years conducting research, much of it by reading or hearing firsthand accounts of other women who worked in Nazi camps. I also visited every site in the book, walking the routes Eva, Rachel, and their friends had walked between the camp and the textile factory. I obtained copies of documents from archives and historians in Czechoslovakia. Everywhere I went, people told me their stories. Many pieces of these stories made their way into the book.

What prompted you to tell this story?

I rather dreaded the process of writing Torn Thread, and postponed it for many years. Then, in 1983, I read a series of articles in the New York Times, reporting studies of American ignorance or denial of the holocaust. After I read that I began to write.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Hardest of all was knowing that among those to read it would be my children. I was anxious to protect them from the painful story of their grandmother--and of their aunts, uncles, and cousins, nearly all of whom they will never know. But now I understand that it was meant for my children, through this book, to meet their family at last.