Shankman’s writing appears in The Kenyon Review, Gargoyle, Cream City Review, Grift, Jewishfiction.net, The Jewish Standard, The Times of Israel, and numerous other fine publications.

Two of her stories, They Were Like Family to Me and The Jew Hater, have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She was a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s Winter Story Contest and earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers competition.

Shankman spent four years working in Tribeca as an artist’s assistant, followed by two years working at Conde Nast as a graphic designer, assisting the great Alexander Liberman as he did a radical redesign for Self Magazine. After Self, she returned to school to study classical technique at the New York Academy of Art, where she was awarded a Warhol Foundation Scholarship. Shortly after earning her MFA, she was invited to become a member of the First Street Gallery. Her artwork has been displayed in numerous exhibitions in and around New York City. She has painted many commissioned portraits, including one of Hillary Clinton that was presented to the White House while she was First Lady.

Her parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts are Holocaust survivors. Many of the events in her fiction are based on personal family stories of Holocaust loss and survival.

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  1. My grandparents on both sides of the family survived the Holocaust. I am honored and fascinated and intrigued and wholly drawn in to reading your site. I am so glad I found it. I, like you, have written many fictional stories and poems about the Holocaust, many of which I have posted on my blog, and I am wondering if I might ask your advice on where to submit them to be published? I thank you so much in advance for your time and for any advice that you might give me.
    I am so grateful to have come across your site. It is important that we never forget. My mother’s side of the family is from Poland, and my father’s side of the family is from Hungary. Only my paternal grandmother is alive now, in Venezuela, where both sides of the family fled after the Holocaust. I could say a lot more about my family’s stories and all this but I don’t want to impose upon you and also I am afraid of revealing too much personal information publicly on the internet where anyone can see it. In this day and age I am very afraid and wary of revealing too much on the internet but I also feel a strong connection with the stories on this blog, because they are my family’s stories and we both share the distinction of being so intimately connect to the Holocaust through our families’ experiences.

    And I believe that as the direct descendants, children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, we bear the important task and distinction of making sure that our families’ stories and the stories of the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten, and always remain in the minds of the public, so that it can never happen again.

    I believe it was kismet that I was brought back to your site, having first discovered it and commented on your site all the way back in 2010 here https://helenmarylesshankman.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/looking-for-selinger-part-ll/#comment-71

    Back then I didn’t know what to say or how to connect with you, but here I am now again. I believe it is not a coincidence that I have discovered your site again more than two years later, and that I was meant to connect with you again, for whatever reason. I hope my words don’t seem too awkward or strange to you, I just feel a deep connection to the past and to the stories of the Holocaust which I find fascinating, all the stories of survival. It really brings you back down to earth and changes the way you look at things, and it makes you proud to be who you are, and to come from that background of survivors and survival.

    It is such a tremendous honor and a real pleasure to come across your site, someone who is writing about the Holocaust in such a meaningful and fascinating way. This is such a testament. Your site is such a testament to their memory, to all of these people that no one would otherwise ever know of or remember.

    These are such incredible and fascinating stories. I think every survivor’s family has such incredible and fascinating stories in the family lore, if only they can be unearthed and remembered…Some families chose to bury and forget such reminders of all of the pain and trauma and horror that they experienced, to forget and move on and establish themselves in their new lives, so to speak.

    I think every piece of writing about the Holocaust, whether it be stories, poetry, fiction, or memoir, is an important testament to remind people to make sure we never forget, and to educate and keep the Holocaust always in the forefront of people’s minds, so that it won’t happen again, and so that such hatred and bigotry and almost unimaginable and unbelievable evil can never rise again, as well as to counteract the evil and sick Holocaust deniers, who are bringing back antisemitism once again.

    Sorry for going on and on here, I just feel a deep connection to the stories on your site, and I am interested in getting my own stories and poems about the Holocaust into print, I believe the more awareness that is raised about the Holocaust and the more people are educated about it, especially the general public at large, the better, and the more we will be able to counteract the strong ignorance, anti-intellectualism, general apathy, and even antisemitism that still prevails today in much of the world, sad and sickening as it is to say. Today’s youth are more disconnected from the Holocaust than ever, particularly those of my generation, the grandchildren of survivors, who are one more generation removed from the direct survivors than your generation is, being the children of survivors.

    I am so grateful to connect with you and your site here. Again I am so sorry for rambling on and on here, I apologize for writing so much. As a last note, I just feel that I have to let you know about two other fascinating materials which I found relating to the Holocaust, one is a book written by an African-German man who grew up in Nazi Germany and who experienced the horrors and discrimination of that time along with his mother, a German woman. His father was a prominent African diplomat from Liberia if I recall correctly. His is an incredibly fascinating story which I think that you may probably be interested to read. I highly recommend his story. They also made a made-for-TV movie about his life that aired on German TV, I think you can find the whole movie subtitled in English online here:

    It is broken up into twenty parts each a few minutes long.

    There are too many links about him to include, so I will just say that if you type Hans Massaquoi into Google you will come up with a lot more information about his incredible, unique, and fascinating story, a different perspective on the events of the Holocaust that one might not have heard of before. Forgive me for mentioning it if you have already heard of his story.




    Also, there is this film about a group of schoolchildren in a rural southern community in the US learning about the Holocaust, and they even brought over a cattle car from Germany that was once used to transport Jews into the concentration camps, which is now installed as a permanent Holocaust memorial on the grounds of the school itself. Its a very moving and touching story to see these children learning about the Holocaust, and how their project to realize the scope and magnitude and scale of the Holocaust grew and impacted the lives of all the community in their small deprived southern town. Miramax even made an award winning documentary about their project and it has received much national attention and acclaim for their efforts in memorializing the exterminated victims of the Holocaust:


    Its really something. Again, please forgive me for going on and on for so long here, I hope I haven’t taken up too much of your time. I am ever so grateful for having come across your blog again here on WordPress and for having connected with you again here. I thank you in advance for your time and for your gracious consideration.

    Yours truly,

    Scriptor Obscura (This is my nom de plume, I don’t want to give my real name here publicly on the internet, for privacy and safety issues.)

    Thank you so much for all that you do.

    1. Thank you, Scriptor, for all your support and your incredibly complimentary comments. I write this stuff because I have to; I don’t really know how I ended up as my family’s yahrtzeit candle–something just clicked, the writer in me, I guess. When I was younger, I just rolled my eyes at all this stuff. The truth is, my mother’s stories are just amazing, not just tragic–the stuff of literature. I was hooked from the moment I discovered that my family was protected by a Nazi, the Commandant of a work camp.

      I agree; the world is getting scarier and scarier, with hate-filled extremists putting out streams of lies and propaganda that are accepted as truths. We have to keep telling these stories.

      I’ve never heard of Hans Massaquoi, I’ll have to look him up. I’ve heard of Paper Clips, though I’ve never seen it! Thanks for telling me about it!

      About your writing–it’s wonderful! For ideas on where to submit, go here, sign up! https://duotrope.com/ There’s a detailed search to help you find the right journals. You can submit online for most of them. Click over to it right now!

      Again, thank you so much for writing, it means a lot to me!

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