GOLANSKI’S TREASURES is a novel based on actual events shared by real people, woven into the life of a fictionalized character.
A story of love, loss and survival, GOLANSKI’S TREASURES tells the story of Max Golanski, a Holocaust survivor living in New York’s Lower East Side who returns to Poland to reconnect with the life he once knew. Assisted by a Polish driver named Viktor, Max visits the village and cities of his youth, collecting items at each location that link him to his former life.
At the airport, when uniformed officials insist on checking his oversized box of mementoes, vivid recollections of Nazis seizing luggage from new arrivals at Auschwitz crash in upon him. Student travelers witnessing his distress volunteer to carry individual items from Max’s box onboard in their backpacks. He implores them to safeguard his “treasures” as each item carries with it a story known only to him.
Onboard, during the long flight home, the students approach Max individually to learn the secrets of the items they have carried onboard. Past and present intersect through Max’s poignant stories as he takes them back in time to the vibrant Polish-Jewish communities of the 1920’s through WWII — from colorful shtetls to thriving urban centers. His memories reveal the critical choices made both by Max and his family that served to define their humanity, inform their destiny, and shape their relationships with God.
Through the students, Max learns that treasures are not always what we might imagine, and that love and the human spirit can never be destroyed.