There are so many people to thank when one takes the first step towards the solitary yet deeply rewarding journey of writing a novel. I hope I haven’t neglected all the many people who showed me support over the years. Thank you.
I want to thank Peter Harris, the first person to read the very first draft of Blok 42 — who said the words that gave me the confidence to pursue my dream: You are a true writer.
I also want to thank my parents, Christine and Julian Obara, who not only were tireless fans and supporters, but helped with the color and details that brought aspects of an old Poland to life. My dearest and beloved aunts, Sophie Freiman and Irena Pisarczyk: I not only thank you for reading my various drafts but for joining me on my first research trip to Southern Poland. We will always have Kraków!
Other friends were key early readers — and I thank you all for your time, input, and candor. Thanks to Coleman Bigelow, Tammy Beauchamp, Graham Thomas, Marc Weiner, the late Nancy Jenkins, the Włoch family, Christiane and Bernd Hohlen, and Susanne and Michael Detto. Aneta Mandarino was also crucial not only as a friend and reader, but as my Polish language instructor. Dziekuję wam wszystkym! I want to thank Liliana Sikorska, author, educator, and friend, and Władysław Witalisz, Dean of Studies/Faculty of Philology at Jagiellonian University, for helping me with my on-site research. I also want to thank Dana Weinstein of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum — it was when my path crossed with yours that I conceived of my novel.
Deepest gratitude to the women of Blok 42. For some mysterious reason, our society has buried your experiences and the place in history you should hold, and I truly hope this novel brings a spotlight of dignity and compassion to all those unknown victims.
And thank you to my readers – I hope you enjoyed my novel. In certain ways, a first novel is based on a lifetime of experiences, conversations, and research. It is an honor to bring these to you.