You're scared? Vhat, is a Nazi chasing you? Do you live in a hole in da ground? Did your family die in da gas chambers?
Los Angeles, CA (Vocus) April 3, 2007
Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, Suzan Hanala Stadner ate junk food and watched a lot of bad television while trying to tune out her parents' constant bickering. Later, after moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, she fell for bad men, developed an eating disorder and suffered from serious drug and alcohol addiction.
Oh, and her parents survived the Holocaust.
All of which might not sound like promising material, but Stadner's memoir, "My Parents Went Through the Holocaust and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt," is by turns tragic, bittersweet and laugh-out loud funny.
Unflinchingly honest, the book recounts how in her self-loathing and insecurity, Stadner hit rock bottom before embarking on an inspiring journey of healing. Thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and psychotherapy, Stadner got sober and became a leading fitness instructor and the host of "The Suzan Stadner Show," LA's most successful local-access cable program. She also studied psychology at UCLA, becoming a member of The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors.
But the heart of the story is Stadner's relationship with her parents, Polish Jews who hid from the Nazis during World War II. Still traumatized, the Holocaust survivors were critical and overbearing as parents. Her mother's scathing refrain, rendered in a Yiddish accent, was "You're scared? Vhat, is a Nazi chasing you? Do you live in a hole in da ground? Did your family die in da gas chambers?" As an adult, Stadner finally made her peace, winning her mother's grudging admiration and learning to see her parents as the scarred Holocaust survivors they are.
Stadner's story resonates with other members of the "Second Generation" - children of Holocaust survivors: "I have read almost every book and publication that there is to read on the subject, in addition to every movie made about the Holocaust," one Second Generation Holocaust survivor wrote in an Amazon.com review. " 'My Parents Went Through the Holocaust and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt' was THE book that hit deepest into my gut. I could personally relate to the insanity growing up and the amount of humor it took to get through it."
Today, Stadner maintains a private LA substance-abuse counseling practice and is a popular spin instructor. She speaks nationally and has appeared on CBS Early Show, Dateline, Leeza, Extra, and other programs.
Hanala Stadner is available for speaking engagements, meetings, and interviews.
"My Parents Went Through the Holocaust and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt:
A Near-Life Experience"
By S. Hanala Stadner
Matter Inc./Seven Locks Press
To view recent videos, go to: Hanala Stadner Videos