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Publisher's Summary

National Jewish Book Awards Finalist

“Part personal quest, part testament, and all thoughtfully, compassionately written.” (The Washington Post)

“Esther Safran Foer is a force of nature: a leader of the Jewish people, the matriarch of America’s leading literary family, an eloquent defender of the proposition that memory matters. And now, a riveting memoirist.” (Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic)

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR

Esther Safran Foer grew up in a home where the past was too terrible to speak of. The child of parents who were each the sole survivors of their respective families, for Esther the Holocaust loomed in the backdrop of daily life, felt but never discussed. The result was a childhood marked by painful silences and continued tragedy. Even as she built a successful career, married, and raised three children, Esther always felt herself searching.

So when Esther’s mother casually mentions an astonishing revelation - that her father had a previous wife and daughter, both killed in the Holocaust - Esther resolves to find out who they were, and how her father survived. Armed with only a black-and-white photo and a hand-drawn map, she travels to Ukraine, determined to find the shtetl where her father hid during the war. What she finds reshapes her identity and gives her the opportunity to finally mourn.

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here is the poignant and deeply moving story not only of Esther’s journey but of four generations living in the shadow of the Holocaust. They are four generations of survivors, storytellers, and memory keepers, determined not just to keep the past alive but to imbue the present with life and more life.

©2020 Esther Safran Foer (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Esther Safran Foer is a natural storyteller - and what a story she has to tell! A tribute to human resilience, her family saga is full of heart and the breath of life. It is a perfect tonic for our cynical times. I loved it." (Kati Marton, author of The Great Escape)

"Stirring and inspiring, this remarkable book is a labor of love and hope. Esther Safran Foer goes on a brave journey abroad and into the past in search of unsettling family secrets buried in the horrible darkness created by Nazism. Her odyssey is both harrowing and heroic. When she returns, she can never see things in the same way, and neither can we. This book is a little triumph over fascism." (Congressman Jamie Raskin)

"I Want You to Know We’re Still Here is a beautiful exploration of collective memory and Jewish history, of Esther Safran Foer’s personal quest to find any trace of a murdered sister, to track down the family who saved her father, and to ensure that the names from her family’s past live on." (Nathan Englander, author of kaddish.com)

"Esther Safran Foer has written an honest, painful, and ultimately uplifting story of life after tragedy. This book is, above all else, the redemption song of her family and of her people. It should be read by everyone." (Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic)

Editor's Pick

You won’t be able to hit pause
"When I Want You to Know We’re Still Here by Esther Safran Foer (mother to a certain _Jonathan_) first crossed my desk, I casually started skimming it. A sentence became a paragraph, a paragraph became a few pages, a few pages became the first two chapters before I finally forced myself to stop and return to work. Needless to say, this is one you won’t be able to hit pause on. Esther gets to the heart of her memoir right away—while chatting with her mother one day, her mom offhandedly mentions that Esther’s father had a previous wife and daughter, both of who were killed in the Holocaust. Thus begins Esther’s journey to learn more about the family she never knew she had. Heartbreaking, beautiful, and utterly compulsive, I Want You to Know We’re Still Here is an incredible memoir of what it means to live under the veil of tragedy."—Katie O., Audible Editor

What listeners say about I Want You to Know We're Still Here

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Very touching

I really enjoyed this story. It was an interesting stroy that I'm sure many other families have been through when looking for their families that were destroyed by WW2. very impressed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mk
  • 08-23-21

Interesting but…

I felt the reader spoke too quickly for me to absorb the information especially when listing relatives. I thought her voice was annoying. I slowed the rate of the reader and it was much better.

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Very intriguing, want to know more

A very interesting book. Really got me invested early and I wanted to know more. The narrator's voice was mostly pleasing and she really evoked the emotion/feelings. I wish it was longer but it was a good read. I'd recommend it for sure.

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well written

I love that the author narrated part of the story. one can forget that many of these stories were written in the latter years of the life of the author.

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well written

this is very well written, although it did hold my attention like other holocaust books. I cannot give it a bad rating bc it is a good book, its someone's story. their life, family, and whole history is in this book, and that deserves the best rating I can give.

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Superb holocaust memoir

A first rate memoir about a survivor family searching for answers about their ancestry.
Very moving.