Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Legacy of Jewish Swimmers

Karen Propp with Manuscript Award Chair Aileen Grossberg

Karen Propp discusses her work in progress, Freestyle, a story of Jewish female swimming champs in Europe during WWII. The unpublished work won the 2013 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. 

Freestyle is based on the true story of champion swimmer Judith Deutsch and the Viennese Hakoah swim team of the 1930s, familiar to some from the documentary film Watermarks. Despite being selected by Austria to swim in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Deutsch and her teammates boycotted the Olympics to protest the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.

The novel covers two years in the life of Elly Hirsch,  Propp’s fictional incarnation of Deutsch. The Award committee felt that Freestyle with its strong sense of history, sympathetic characters, and little known story, would appeal to a wide audience and epitomize the ideals of Sydney Taylor’s All of a Kind Family series. Freestyle looks at the years of the Holocaust with a unique light.

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Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries 
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band 
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