My Dear Boy

A World War II Story of Escape, Exile, and Revelation

Joanie Holzer Schirm

A posthumous memoir, My Dear Boy recounts Oswald "Valdik" Holzer's tale of refuge, resiliency, and hope as a Czechoslovakian Jew during World War II.
Publication date:
March 2019
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640120723

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
This book is available

Regular Price: £25.00

Special price £19.00


• Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright might endorse the book while possibly also writing the foreword
• Materials from the collection associated with the manuscript are a part of a current traveling exhibit in Germany and Austria
• Exhibits featuring Valdik Holzer's story are currently being planned for museums in Prague and Orlando for 2019. Author has strong ties with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
• Following a 2010 broadcast of PBS's national TV show Growing Bolder, showcasing a feature story about the discovery of the Holzer Collection and Joanie's new writing career, over 7000 people responded on-line to watch the video. The producers have committed to developing a new segment when My Dear Boy is ready for publication

After her parents' death in 2000, author Joanie Holzer Schirm found hundreds of letters held together by rusty paperclips and stamped with censor marks, sent from Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, China, South and North America, along with journals, vintage film, taped interviews, and photographs. In working through the various materials documenting Oswald "Valdik” Holzer's journey from Czechoslovakia to China, America to Peru and Ecuador, Schirm learned of her family history through her father's experience of exile and loss, resiliency and hope.

In this poignant, posthumous memoir, Schirm reconstructs her father's youthful voice as he comes of age as a Jew in interwar Prague, escapes from a Nazi-held army unit, practices medicine in China's war-ravaged interior, and resettles in America to start a family. Encountering a diverse cast of characters from the humorous to the menacing, Holzer's corresponded with family, friends, and authorities across Europe, China, and the Americas. After the war, Holzer receives a letter from his father "that changed everything”. Written in 1942 before his parents were transported to a Nazi death camp, the letter begins: "My dear boy.” The legacy of this remarkable piece of correspondence is the book's culmination—a universal formula for redemption and triumph.