Erika Hecht is the author of the new memoir Don't Ask My Name: A Hidden Child's Tale of Survival. It focuses on her childhood in Hungary during World War II, where she, a Jewish child, was hidden as a Christian. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.
Q: Why did you decide to write this memoir?
A: While talking to young people in schools who were learning about the Holocaust and to adults in various study groups, I realized that there should be a written record of my story.
Q: How much did you remember from your childhood, and did you need to do additional research to write the book?
A: My memory goes back to 3 1/2 years old. I remember everything that is in the book and more. I went to Hungary with my daughter to verify what I remember.
I wrote a few chapters on that trip but it's not included in the book.
Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?
A: Several previous titles of the book were discarded as not strong enough. Having to say my name was always a disturbing and painful experience for me, never being sure which of my names was safe to use in that particular circumstance.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your book?
A: An understanding about the effects of persecution and war even on young children.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Expanding some of the scenes in the book into independent short stories.
Maybe a eulogy of my recently deceased 17-year-old dog.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb