The Survivor's Cookbook
Featuring Lillian Berliner
My name is Lillian Berliner and I was deported with my family from Hungary in 1944. My mother and I survived Auschwitz, labor camp in Bremen and Bergen Belzen. We were liberated by the British troops on April 15, 1945. Most of my family was deported from Hungary and the majority perished in the Auschwitz gas chambers. Miraculously, my mother (in her early 40's) and I (a teenager) survived Auschwitz, Bremen and Bergen-Belsen together. We were never separated.
We were starved in Auschwitz and to alleviate our numerous hunger pangs, we invented frequent "dream meals" ranging between coffee klatches, luncheons, informal and formal dinner parties. We planned our menus carefully for hours and in great detail. Our favorite dishes and desserts took priority and were frequently repeated. The table settings, the color of dishes, tablecloths, napkins, flowers for each occasion and the seating arrangements were also discussed.
This may sound delusional I know, but during these meal planning sessions, we were briefly transported to a normal world, a world that was so far from our miserable reality. We actually tasted the dishes we prepared and our hunger pangs disappeared during the hours of planning. We could hardly wait for the next planning session.
There was no need or time to plan "dream meals" in Bremen (labor camp) thanks to the kindness of an old, Danish retired seaman, who gave us his daily sandwich and to a French prisoner of war, who shared his Red Cross packages with us. In Bergen-Belsen, we were too sick and weak to even dream.
The two recipes I have included, one for an appetizer and one for dessert, were always on our menus and were native to my home-town of Kolosvar (also known as Cluj), Hungary, on the Romanian border in Transylvania.
LIPTAUER- CHEESE SPREAD
8 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp. minced onion
2 squirts anchovy paste (not too much since very salty)
lots of paprika-to redden the spread
Mix well. Refrigerate. Serve with crackers or bread.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup Club Soda
margarine or butter for cooking the crepes
Mix eggs, flour, milk, sugar and salt. Make a smooth pancake dough. Let dough rest for 1-2 hours. Stir in Club Soda at the last moment, just before cooking the pancakes.
Heat an eight inch frying pan. When the pan is hot, add 1/4 tbsp. margarine or butter. Let it melt and cover the bottom of the pan. Pour a ladle of the batter into the pan. Gently tipping and twisting, so it covers the whole pan. When the top bubbles, turn the pancake over anc cook for another 4-5 seconds. Remove the cooked pancake into a large plate.
Fillings for pancake: Apricot Jam or Farmer cheese mixed with an egg yolk, sugar and raisin mixture. Roll the filled pancake and then fry lightly to heat before serving.
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If you know of a Survivor and would like to honor them by having them appear in the Survivor Cookbook you can send their story and recipe to:
P.O. Box 230
Clarksville, MD 21029
Or you can email the information to email@example.com
For more information call Joanne Caras 443-604-2643
Proceeds from the Survivor Cookbook will go to benefit the Carmei Ha'ir Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem. Cookbooks will be sold by Synagogues and Jewish groups throughout the world. You can learn more about the Soup Kitchen by visiting our website www.survivorcookbook.org
from the May 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine