To survive the long shadow of the Third Reich, many Jewish children were placed in hiding, forced to keep their true identities—names, religion, places of birth, even gender—absolutely secret. Although these "hidden children" avoided capture and murder, many of their -family members did not, and their experiences marked them for life. Evi Blaikie's passionate memoir depicts a life lived in the shadow of exile.
Evelyne Juliette was born in Paris to privileged Hungarian immigrants of high intellect and great passion. Scarcely a year following her birth, France would fall to the Nazis, putting Evi's family among hundreds of thousands on the run. Her father, forced to flee Paris and go underground, never again emerged. Her mother, Madga, an indomitable woman, managed to send her young daughter to safety in Hungary before being captured in a dragnet and imprisoned in a forced labor camp. Evi, just barely three, was eventually brought by an aunt to Budapest under her cousin's passport. "Claude Pollak" would be only the first of many identites assumed to protect the shattered remnants of this young child's life.
Eventually reunited with her mother, Evi would survive the war and the chaos of post-World War II Europe, but not without tremendous cost: when life blurs with survival, when one is set adrift in perpetual exile, what does it mean to go on living? In Magda's Daughter, Evi Blaikie, a natural storyteller, deftly explores the many -influences—cultural, geographic, religious—with which she had to come to terms in order to finally embrace her own true sense of home and self.
Advocate and board member of the Hidden Child Foundation of the ADL, Evi Blaikie lives and writes in New York City.