Maria Chamberlain’s book Never Tell Anyone You’re Jewish (published by Vallentine Mitchell, May 2022) is based on her parents’ and grandparents’ experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland and her family’s post-war life in Stalinist Poland and later in the UK. The book, which is part testimony, part tribute to her Holocaust survivor parents, celebrates their courage and resilience, and brings to life on the page several family members who perished. Much of this history is harrowing and tragic, but it presents touching and tender portraits of her family members in extraordinary times. Maria ponders on how it was possible for so many seemingly ordinary people (German, Polish and Ukrainian) to participate in this unspeakable evil. She talks about the after-effects of the Holocaust on her survivor parents, and how this legacy has shaped her own identity.
Maria who was born soon after the war in Kraków, Poland, emigrated with her parents to the UK in 1958 and settled in Edinburgh, where she still lives. She has led an academic career as a plant scientist and lecturer of Biology at Edinburgh University.