The Partisan’s Coat


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Joe Kamens stared into the glass case in the military museum in Minsk. There it was, his coat, just like the one he had found as a child in a dusty suitcase in Melbourne. Once, it had kept a heroic Jewish partisan warm in the freezing forests of Belarus.
Yanosh and Eva, Holocaust survivors, have built new lives in Australia, far away from the horrors, but Joe, their son, caught up in the passions and intimacies of a Zionist youth movement, is inexorably drawn to the alternative they rejected: Israel. Arriving in the land of his dreams in the devastated aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he hopes to find the partisan behind his coat. Is he still alive? Really dead? Or now a Mossad agent?

Joe is intent on strengthening the country he loves and building a family of his own. But as he begins to unravel the fragmentary stories of friends and family members, the coat’s enigmatic original owner criss-crosses his life, forcing him to question his loyalties, his faith, and his identity.

  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 248 pages
  • Author: Yehiel Grenimann
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1956381504
  • Sequel to Far Away From Where?

This book is a historical novel, based on the author’s father’s Holocaust experience.

1 review for The Partisan’s Coat

  1. ‘The Partisan’s Coat’: A mysterious historical novel set in Israel – review
    Excerpt from The Jerusalem Report:
    “The Partisan’s Coat is Grenimann’s second novel. In a way, it could be called a coming-of-age novel.”

    “Yehiel Grenimann is the son of Holocaust survivors. His mother escaped not only the Nazis but also a Soviet work camp; and his father fought with the partisans. Grenimann was born in Australia and made aliyah in 1973, when he enlisted in the army. Having retired from his position as field director for Rabbis for Human Rights five years ago, Grenimann is now making a name for himself as a distinguished writer. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, with whom he has four children, and seven – soon to be eight – grandchildren.
    The Partisan’s Coat is Grenimann’s second novel. In a way, it could be called a coming-of-age novel, as it follows Joey (Yoseph), a shy boy, trying to fit in as a normal Aussie, through to becoming a middle-aged Israeli husband and father. Coming from an assimilated Jewish family, Joey is pulled between a volatile father, so traumatized by the war that he no longer wants any association with Judaism or Zionism; and his mother, who wants him to retain some connection to his Jewish roots. And this becomes a source of friction in his parents’ marriage.
    While playing one day in the shed where he hides to escape his parents’ arguments, and an annoying sister, he finds and becomes obsessed with the coat, of the title, and is intrigued to learn that the mysterious previous owner, named Bora, had been a partisan leader. He is even more thrilled to find a genuine bullet hole in the coat. The coat follows him through the book to the very end. It becomes a sort of talisman and an object of veneration linking him to imagined, heroic deeds, which he aspires to emulate.”
    “The book sustains page-turning interest, while giving an authentic view of Israel, warts and all – often good, sometimes bad, and occasionally ugly, but always a beloved country.” ■

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