© 2023 KUNR
An illustrated mountainscape with trees and a broadcast tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Reno Author Publishes Holocaust Story After Waiting Decades

Reno author Judith Schumer

After more than 20 years of waiting, Reno author Judith Schumer has finally published In the Presence of My Enemies, the story of Holocaust survivor Adam Zurawin. He was labeled as a Nazi collaborator, but Schumer says that claim is not true and wants to set the record straight.

Zurawin lived in Warsaw, Poland, at the time of the Nazi invasion. In the pursuit of survival, he did many things which endangered his life, including jumping off of a cattle car two hours before reaching Auschwitz Concentration Camp. While he left family and friends behind on the train, jumping is what saved his life.

Although he was Jewish, Zurawin posed as a Christian during World War II in order to have the freedom needed to help his family and friends confined in the Warsaw Ghetto. The fact that Zurawin hid his Jewish identity worked against him after the war. People, even fellow Jews, accused him of collaborating with the Nazis, including Judith Schumer’s father, a reporter in New York City. After learning more about Zurawin’s war-long masquerade as a non-Jew, Schumer’s father retracted his allegations against Zurawin and the two became life-long friends.

Author extra: the importance of kindness to Adam Zurawin.

As close family friends, Zurawin contacted Judith Schumer when he was diagnosed with cancer and decided that it was time to share his story. Even though Schumer and Zurawin completed the original story in 1994, Zurawin’s wife Liza asked Schumer to wait to publish the book until both she and Adam died; they did not want to endure more stress related to the Nazi collaboration accusations. After Liza’s death in 2014, Schumer published the book May 7, 2016.

“This is the story of a unique man, who in one of the darkest periods of Jewish history did what he could to save others, to save himself, to rescue as many Jews as he possibly could. I want the reader to see a picture of a very special human being,” Schumer said.  

Schumer will present In the Presence of My Enemies at the Temple Sinai Men’s Club Breakfast in Reno on Sunday, June 5. 

Author extra: the inspiration for the book's title.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
Related Content