Unearthed: A Lost Actress, a Forbidden Book, and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust


Product Details

$29.00  $26.97
Hachette Books
Publish Date
6.2 X 8.8 X 1.5 inches | 0.95 pounds
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About the Author

Meryl Frank is president of Makeda Global Network, an international consulting firm that works with thousands of women worldwide. Over a long and varied career, she has been an activist, a mayor, an ambassador, and a champion for of women's leadership and political participation around the world.

Frank came to public prominence in 2000 when she led a grassroots campaign against the deeply entrenched political machine in her hometown of Highland Park, New Jersey, and won election as mayor, a position she held for the next ten years. In 2009, President Obama appointed her United States Representative and, subsequently, Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. As a result of her work on behalf of women globally, she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Jews in the World by the Jerusalem Post.

In May of 2022, President Biden appointed Frank to a seat on the US Holocaust Memorial Council. She is also a member the Board of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Frank has served on the boards of the American Jewish Congress, Jewish Women International, Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, and Warmheart Worldwide. She has also served in leadership roles with the Democratic National Committee's National Women's Leadership Forum, and on the National Finance Committees for several presidential candidates. She is the co-editor of The Parental Leave Crisis - Toward a National Policy and as Director of the Infant Care Leave Project at the Yale Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy, she was instrumental in the development and passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

She is a graduate of Livingston College, Rutgers University and of Yale University, where she earned graduate degrees in public health, political science, and international relations. She lives in Highland Park, New Jersey.


"An unflagging hunt through the darkest period of Jewish history yields treasure for a passionate researcher.... Notable is the way the horror of the Holocaust ups the ante on every discovery. Nothing stopped Frank as she traveled back and forth to Europe and later Canada, peeling back the veil and ending the silence on mass killings, brutal betrayals, and foiled escapes as well as bright flickers of courage and rebellion....After the mystery of Franya was solved, new parts of the story emerged to yield unexpected satisfaction. Frank's attitude and rigorous self-reflection will be a beacon to the many people profoundly affected by generational trauma. An unflinching project that succeeds as a small victory against the erasure of the Holocaust."--Kirkus Reviews
"Zechor, remember, is the eleventh commandment of all Holocaust survivors and their children. Meryl Frank fulfills that commandment to its fullest. Her book is a must-read to understand what it was like to have lived, struggled, fought, and died in Vilna and its surroundings. Unearthed tells a great story of courage, faith, and survival."--Abe Foxman, Holocaust survivor and national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League
"Thought-provoking, nuanced, and the product of rigorous research, Unearthed is a beautiful and necessary book. In her search for her cousin Franya, Frank fills the silences of the Holocaust with stories and lovingly deploys the skills required to solve mysteries across decades and continents. Masterfully, she shows us the importance of connecting to others and of plunging into the shadows in order to forge our way out. This immersive detective story and memoir illuminates how trauma and the redemptive power of connection reverberate through time and place. Riveting and deeply moving. I couldn't put it down."--Ariana Neumann, New York Times bestselling author of When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains
"Sometimes the truth--though memorialized on yellowed pages in a discarded rag heap, stuffed into an underground hideout, and preserved by a beloved but formidable aunt--needs to be discovered for oneself. Meryl Frank's memoir, a meditation on history and memory and a quest to uncover her family's Holocaust story, is a testament to the power of the past to exert its hold and to demand our recounting."--Ilana Kurshan, author of If All the Seas Were Ink

"Rooted in Meryl Frank's drive to understand and honor her own family's legacy, Unearthed offers the reader a gripping and poignant reminder that history and our own legacies are more closely connected than we often acknowledge."

--Senator Cory Booker
"[An] engrossing debut.... Books like [Frank's] help remind us of the horrors that happen when hate goes unchecked. This remarkable story of discovery and connection will appeal to fans of family mysteries and Holocaust history."--Booklist
"Meryl Frank has written a deeply moving and compelling book. It reads like a mystery thriller. This is a gripping story, beautifully told."--Ambassador (Ret.) Stuart E. Eizenstat, Chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council and author of Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor & the Unfinished Business of World War II
"Unearthed is a distinctive and unique book in the field of Holocaust literature...captivating and extremely powerful....At times touching, sad, amusing, thrilling, joyful, and always amazing, Unearthed is not merely a distinctive or unique book--it is a definite 'must read.'"--Jewish Link
"A memoir by an amazing woman... a thrilling mystery... beautifully constructed."--The Frankie Boyer Show
"Ms. Frank makes effective use of the work of historians of Eastern Europe.... A tale of tears and a story of survival and of the resilience of remembrance.... Meryl Frank has crafted a history based in careful research and hopes that she has raised our moral awareness about the current dangers of persecution. She has also honored the memory of her family, passing the candle of their remembrance to her readers."--The Wall Street Journal
"Remarkable book."--"Too Jewish" podcast
"The bad people talk about hate but the good people are afraid to talk about hate...I think what [Frank] has done, particularly with this book, is really critical."--The Kathryn Zox Show
"A heartfelt memoir."--WBZ1030 Boston Book Club
"A remarkable story...[Frank] writes beautifully in the book, and I think there's something so Jewishly infused... about the idea of celebrating life rather than erasing Franya, is so important."--Yiddish Book Center's "The Shmooze'"podcast

"[An] amazing book."

--The Positive Living Show
"[A] heartfelt memoir."--The WGVU Morning Show
"The author seamlessly educates the reader on Judaism, the holocaust in Lithuania, and Yiddish theater... Unearthed links the past to the present with Ms. Franks' comparison of the racism of Nazi Europe to modern-day racism of all forms."--Family Locket
"A beautiful tribute... Meryl Frank's writing is vivid and brings to life the world of Vilna's Yiddish theater and the horrors of the Holocaust... The book is moving as it makes you think about a dark part of history and the power of remembering. It shows us how strong the bonds of family and community are, and how much the human spirit can do. It also reminds us that we all have a duty to remember the past and work to make the future better."--Pen Wise