LEWISTON — Holocaust survivor Judith Isaacson never sought her name on a book’s dust jacket.

Her first, “Seed of Sarah,” began its journey to bookstores when a son-in-law sent a portion of her private work to the Yale Review.

Now, she’s an accidental author again.

Some of the 85-year-old author and teacher’s unpublished stories were gathered for a second book, titled “All Who Live, Rejoice, Rejoice.”

“It just happened by accident,” Isaacson said. “My survival was by accident. My meeting (husband) Irving was by accident. Anything bad and good happened by accident.”

This time, the book was put together by friend Gerda Neu-Sokol, who retired last year as a Bates professor of German literature and culture. The two women became friends during Isaacson’s regular visits to Neu-Sokol’s classes.

“Often, she would read one of these new stories that she had written,” Neu-Sokol said. When a student asked if they might ever be published, the German teacher went to work.

“I had this idea, that yes, these new stories will be published because they tell so much about Hungarian Jewish life before the war,” she said.

She collected several Isaacson stories, translated them from English to German and went to a publisher she knew: Hentrich and Hentrich of Berlin.

The result is a paperback volume with Isaacson at 16 pictured on the front, looking like a 1930s-era movie star.

Inside are stories of friends and family, vignettes from her childhood in Kaposvár.

“They honor so many of those who were so brutally murdered during the war,” Neu-Sokol said.

For Isaacson, the writing was a way of ensuring that people would be remembered and known by her family, whether or not it was ever published.

“Unfortunately, I lost most of my family and all of my Jewish friends,” she said.

She wrote about her favorite uncle, Dezsö, and her friend, Evi. Like so many others, they were killed in the Holocaust.

“My hometown was devastated,” Isaacson said. “There wasn’t a single child left alive.”

Accompanying the stories are precious photos, hidden or sent away before the Germans came.

“I hid a few in a cellar cave, very few,” she said. “Most of them my parents sent to my father’s brother, and he saved them all.”

Petite and unsteady on her feet, Isaacson’s voice grew sharp when she talked about her wartime experiences. It always has.

When “Seed of Sarah” was published, first in 1984 as a group of stories in the Yale Review and later, in 1990, as a full-length book by the University of Illinois Press, the work was heralded as a feminist perspective on the Holocaust.

It described not only her survival, but the bond with her mother and aunt that helped them all survive the camps.

“I can’t tell you the number of times we were in deathly danger,” she said. “We stuck it together, to die or live together. And we just happened to live. Very few did.”

Again, she spoke of luck.

“It’s just lucky that I survived to age 20,” she said. “I didn’t expect to.”

She hopes to preserve the stories for her family, but there are no plans to publish the new book in English.

“It doesn’t matter,” said the grandmother of eight. “My family will have it. My descendants will have it.”

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