(Mad Men Spoiler Alert!)
Mad Men, that perennially hot TV show that kept fans waiting 16 months between fixes, now has a Jewish copywriter. His name is Michael Ginsberg. Being a Jewish copywriter myself (or, more accurately, a copywriter who happens to be Jewish), I was initially intrigued by this new character. But last night’s episode threw me for a loop. Michael told fellow copywriter Peggy Olson that he was born in a concentration camp. (For those less familiar with Mad Men, it’s a period-based show set in late 1960s New York City). Peggy, obviously disturbed by this pronouncement, later told her boyfriend that it just couldn’t possibly be true, could it? Michael feels it can’t be true either, and feels his stepfather must have lied to him. His stepfather also “conveniently” told him that his real mother died in the camp.
I’m interested to see where this particular storyline goes since it’s eerily like the basis of my book about my mother-in-law who really was born in a concentration camp. In 2001 when my then-boyfriend — now husband — first told me his mom was born in a camp, I was shocked. I didn’t believe it was even possible, as I assumed all pregnant women were killed and if one was lucky enough to slip by Mengele, I figured that child would instantly be killed at birth. Apparently, that isn’t necessarily so.
My very much alive-and-kicking mother-in-law, Hana Berger Moran (age 67), was indeed born in a concentration camp. In fact, there are at least three babies who were born in concentration camps that I’m aware of, which leads me to believe there must be others. Each of these babies and their mothers defied the odds to survive, which I believe was due much in part to circumstance and luck. But of course, that’s only part of the story.
Can’t wait to see where the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, goes with this subplot. He best not disappoint.