S. Weilbach is a pseudonym for the author of Singing From the Darktime: A Childhood Memoir in Poetry and Prose (McGill-Queens, 2011), with an afterword by Holocaust scholar Doris Bergen.
S. Weilbach is a former psychologist, therapist, teacher, and social activist. Now retired, she lives in British Columbia.
According to her publisher: "Singing from the Darktime is a compelling picture of a rural childhood in Germany at a time when the world was about to change. By 1937 Hitler's power was beginning to penetrate the peaceful agricultural village in the Rhine Valley where S. Weilbach lived with her family. Without warning, her carefree life became a scene of bewildering racial abuse, followed by the violent invasion of her home, the arrest of her father, and the disappearance of her beloved grandmother. Weilbach's story of her eventual flight and concealment reveals how children in crisis retreat into imagination, reliving past happiness.
"Escaping Germany, Weilbach describes her surreal experience aboard the luxury refugee ship the St Louis, refused the right to land first by Cuba and then by the United States and Canada and finally forced to turn back to Europe, where England and other countries eventually provided some sanctuary. She recalls her experiences in London - loneliness, confusion, and an incomprehensible language but also the healing acceptance of classmates and teachers. With the approach of World War Two, the mass evacuation of her school to the countryside brings a return to village life, with surprising happiness and the hint of a better future, despite the immediate chaos of war.
"Singing from the Darktime presents a voice of innocence and resilience in a cruel and frightening world."
Singing From the Darktime: A Childhood Memoir in Poetry and Prose (McGill-Queens, 2011), with an afterword by Doris Bergen. $18.95 CAN / USD Paper 9780773538641