Anna Salton Eisen will be the featured speaker at the third annual Beauty for Ashes Luncheon, March 22, 2024, at the Kingwood Country Club. Click here for more information.

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Anna Salton Eisen’s memoir, Pillar of Salt: A Daughter’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust, breaks down the barrier of silence that was intended as a protective shield for her parents and their children. From early childhood, Anna, as a second-hand witness to the Holocaust, felt overwhelmed by the unspoken but ever-present trauma of her parents’ past. Her father, born as Lucjan Salzman, survivor of ten different concentration camps, is enveloped in impenetrable grief and his history encased in secrecy. But Anna is determined to look backwards, breaking through her father’s reticence to confront the unspoken terrors of the past. The entire Salton family embarks on a journey through Poland unlocking a history sealed in silence and buried by time. The Salton family’s quest takes them to the towns where Anna’s parents lived as children under Nazi occupation. The family returns to the ghetto where a 15-year-old Lucjan experienced his first selection and bid farewell to his parents before they were herded into a boxcar and sent to their deaths at the Belzec concentration camp. They continue their travels through the picturesque Polish countryside, still pockmarked by the remnants of former concentration camps and a spattering of Holocaust memorials. By the end of her odyssey, Anna acquires a new understanding of her legacy as a child of Holocaust survivors and how trauma is revisited upon subsequent generations. By revisiting those places of trauma with her father as her guide, Anna Salton Eisen’s tour of terrors provide her with a new understanding of how her identity has been shaped under the shadow of the Holocaust. Anna confides that by looking back like Lot’s wife, and by taking in the whole story, “I could carry the pain of the Holocaust and find there is more to me than a pillar of salt.”

Building on Salton Eisen’s own background as a Holocaust author—she co-wrote The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir with her father George Salton—Pillar of Salt completes their story. The book will be launched with a documentary film about Anna and her father with a global release.

Part memoir, part travelogue, Pillar of Salt tells the story of the daughter of Holocaust survivors—one growing more pressing with the aging of the remaining Holocaust survivors. This book differs from other second-generation memoirs because the author was able, at her father’s side, to learn about his past and return with him on a trip to Poland, including saying the Jewish prayer of Kaddish at the place where his parents were killed in a gas chamber. Pillar of Salt shares a new kind of personal testimony, one that sheds light on the human side of the Holocaust.

Anna Salton Eisen grew up in a home where her parents’ Holocaust experiences were a well-kept secret. She later moved to Texas where she became active in the Jewish community as a founding member of the first synagogue in her area. Serving as a docent for the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies and an interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, Salton Eisen continued to search for information about her family’s survival and destruction in the Holocaust. In 2001, she co-authored with her father The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir. Salton Eisen is also the subject of a forthcoming documentary about her father’s life. She now conducts extensive research into the genealogy of her family and has discovered many original documents which record her father’s concentration camp experience. Salton Eisen and her family reside in Westlake, Texas.

Aaron Eisen was born and raised in Texas, where he struggled to understand his identity as both a Jew and a descendant of Holocaust survivors. He assisted in the research for a documentary film about his grandfather and helped his mother piece together her personal understanding of the Holocaust. He is now working on a third-generation Holocaust memoir.