A Promise of Sweet Tea

A Jewish community comes alive in this vividly told story of a childhood interrupted by the Holocaust. In his wry and evocative prose, Pinchas Blitt conjures Kortelisy — a humble, vibrant village in the backwoods of western Ukraine. Young Pinchas lives in fear of Cossacks and wolves and the local antisemitic children, but he finds belonging in the rich texts and traditions of his ancestors. When the Soviets invade, Pinchas’s life is infused with new meaning as he innocently devotes himself to the teachings of Comrade Stalin. Then the Nazis arrive, and Pinchas witnesses his beloved village being brutally attacked. As his family seeks safety in the marshes and forests, their precarious existence brings Pinchas face to face with his own mortality and faith, and with a sense of dislocation that will accompany him throughout his life.

“These memoirs are so full of life, of dialogue, of laughter through tears, that they might easily belong in the Yiddish theatre” — David G. Roskies, Introduction

At a Glance
Western Ukraine / eastern Poland
Pre-war Jewish life
Postwar Germany, displaced persons camp
Arrived in Canada in 1948
Adjusting to life in Canada
Yiddish theatre and music

344 pages

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Pinchas Eliyahu Blitt

About the author

Pinchas Eliyahu Blitt was born in Kortelisy, Poland (now Ukraine) in 1931 or 1932. Pinchas and his family immigrated to Canada in 1948 and settled in Montreal, where he attended teacher’s college and law school. In addition to a long career as a lawyer, Pinchas was involved in the Yiddish theatre community in Montreal for many years. Pinchas has three children. He lives in Montreal with his life partner, Gisele.

We were close enough to these soldiers to see their faces. In them we saw the end of our lives. But, somehow, we still did not give up hope and surrender.