Publisher Eyes Personal Perspectives

By McLoughlin, Pamela | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), May 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

Publisher Eyes Personal Perspectives


McLoughlin, Pamela, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


When Sarah Beth Goncarova and her husband, Yary Hluchan, started Clay Grouse Press publishing company a year ago, they didn't build it with any particular direction in mind.

But after editing and publishing "Sonia's Song," the memoir of Sonia Korn-Grimani, who lost her childhood as her family survived the Holocaust through extraordinary means, the couple sees a theme for the future: first-person narratives from important parts of history.

The only other book they've published to date was of Goncarova's artwork.

"This brings the publishing company to a new level," said Hluchan, who is also president of Automation Programming Inc., a computer software company.

Goncarova, an artist, said the personal perspectives would really engage students.

"Sonia's Song," a page-turner that tells of a childhood lost to the Nazis, is an engaging place to start.

The Woodbridge couple met Korn-Grimani about five years ago when they were neighbors in San Francisco. They immediately clicked.

Goncarova said within an hour of meeting Korn-Grimani, she had commissioned a portrait by Goncarova and was soon giving the young artist French lessons and learning from Hluchan how to work a computer.

But it was her childhood story of survival that gripped them and as soon as the couple read Korn-Grimani's memoir, they knew they wanted to publish it in English. The memoir, written about seven years ago, was first published in German, then French. Korn-Grimani made speaking tours in both countries.

"I'm very thrilled to have it out in the United States," Korn- Grimani said in a telephone interview. "I wanted to get it out to as many people as possible. ... I wanted to show the world you can survive after the most horrible experience."

Korn-Grimani was born in 1931, two years after her brother, Heini, to a young couple in Germany, Jacob and Chawa Korn. In 1933, when she was just a toddler, Adolf Hitler became chancellor and her Jewish family didn't stand a chance.

That's when she and her brother effectively lost their childhoods, she said.

At age 8, Korn-Grimani was declared an enemy of the state, along with all other Jews. The story of her childhood is one of fleeing, including being smuggled into Belgium along with her brother, but without their parents, who would make it there later.

"We were little, hungry, we were afraid to speak," Korn-Grimani said of the trip on foot along the rails from Germany to Belgium. …

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