Read her full review at: Eva's Sanctuary
" This is a very unique book in that it was done as a labor of love in Minnie's memory. Her great-granddaughter, Smadar, became obsessed with doing a genealogy of the family. She collected all the journals, family photos and documents, internet research and everything she could find in order to bring this book to fruition. Finally twenty-nine years after her death, the labor of love was completed and published. The book contains the writings of Minnie, photos galore of family, documents, death, marriage and birth certificates....The end result was an attempt to keep it as true to her great grandmother as possible. There may be times the reader remembers reading something before. This is because Minnie already wrote about it before. Join Minnie as she lives through two world wars, a pandemic and the Great Depression.
If you are interested in learning some history first hand and enjoy photos as much as I do, then you will certainly enjoy this book of memoirs. If you just like a good read, then you can't go wrong. It is a fast moving journey through the life of Minnie Crane and her family."....
-"Fellow genealogist and family historian, Smadar Belkind Gerson discovered what many family historians have only yearned for- personal eyewitness accounts and reflections personally handwritten by a direct ancestor! Smadar's Great-Grandmother, Minnie Crane had written numerous pages of journal entries recounting her life story, from life in her childhood village of Belitsa, Russia (today part of Belarus), to her emigration via Bremen, Germany to her life in the United States. Thirty years after her grandmothers death, Ms. Gerson supplements her ancestor's writing with extra historical details, footnotes, family photographs, personal historical documents and more, to create a beautiful, inspirational narrative which gives a poignant look not only into the life of Minnie Crane and the Kranowitz (Crane) family, but also the joys and sufferings of many Jewish people who emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States during the late 1800's to early 1900's. This is as personal as history gets!
Valuable resources for anyone writing their family history are books on social history, memoirs, and location histories. This joint undertaking by two women separated by 4 generations is a fabulous read for anyone interested in history of the time period, Ashkenazi Jewish history and migration, the immigrant experience, or who would like to write the history of their own family in historical context.
Many thanks to Minnie Crane and her great-grandaughter Smadar Belkind Gerson for allowing me to see so much through their eyes."
-"Stored Treasures by Minnie Crane and her great-granddaughter Smadar Belkind Gerson is a fascinating book, full of interesting photographs and captivating stories from Minnie’s difficult childhood. After reading the complete memoir, I feel like I’'ve met the family and struggled with them through their tumultuous history spanning two world wars, pandemics, and the Great Depression.
....This memoir truly is a treasure worth reading by anyone ......I recommend it as a well-written and accurate record of events that define world history."
-"What a wonderful story created by Minnie and shared by Smadar. Smadar wrote: “"By reflecting on our past we gain insight as to what shaped our history. What I had not expected yet very quickly comprehended was that I found so much more than clues about my relatives. Moma (Minnie), the woman, not the grandmother, emerged from the pages. I found the Moma I never realized I had lost.”" What a rich statement , taken from a book filled with insight into life one hundred years ago. I loved the way Smadar included excerpts from four generations. That is an amazing treasure. I liked Minnie’s positive attitude and her resilience."
"One of the most interesting subjects Minnie shared was her childhood remembrances of the postal system in Russia. I felt like she was painting a picture for me, revealing wonderful details. Beyond that, Minnie shared how this helped develop her character. Minnie wrote,” "It gave us children a sense of importance as well as responsibility...we quickly discovered the seriousness of trust. If you had an opportunity for learning something you did not throw it away.”" Minnie shared how she obtained an education and it revealed an aspect of her character that I found fascinating.
I appreciated how the book demonstrated the family support and how they cared for each other’s interests.
Minnie’s daughter Barbara wrote a terrific ending for Minnie’s story. Barbara wrote to Minnie, " ...almost no negative legacies from you.....the secret of your strength to withstand so many tragedies and difficulties is your ability to face them head-on and mourn and feel rather than deny those feelings.”" I am thankful Minnie chose to share those memories of her life, both the tragedies and the triumphs in her journals. I am also glad Smadar chose to share them with those of us who never had the privilege to meet Minnie Crane. A book well worth reading if you enjoy memoirs and personal histories. I found it very interesting and I felt as if I had met old friends by the stories end."