Richman, Sophia 1941-
RICHMAN, Sophia 1941-
PERSONAL: Original name, Zofia Reichman; born January 28, 1941, in Lwów, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine); daughter of Leon (an accountant) and Dorothy (a teacher and seamstress; maiden name, Weiss) Richman; married Spyros D. Orfanos (a psychologist), November 25, 1976; children: Lina. Education: City College of the City University of New York, B.A., 1962, M.S., 1965; New York University, Ph.D., 1970, postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, 1975.
CAREER: Private practice of psychology in New York, NY, 1971—, and Upper Montclair, NJ, 1991—. American Board of Professional Psychology, diplomate. Member of supervising faculty, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, New York, and Contemporary Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies, New Jersey; lecturer at other institutions.
MEMBER: American Psychological Association, Academy of Psychoanalysis (fellow).
AWARDS, HONORS: Fellowship, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2000-01; Jewish Women's Caucus of the Association for Women in Psychology scholarship award, 2003.
A Wolf in the Attic: The Legacy of a Hidden Child of the Holocaust (memoir), Haworth Press (Binghamton, NY), 2002.
A Wolf in the Attic was translated into Greek.
SIDELIGHTS: Sophia Richman told CA: "I have never thought of myself as a writer. I have been a psychologist for over thirty years and have found immense satisfaction in my profession. As I reached my middle years, however, I began to look back at my life and felt the need to write my story. Born into the Holocaust, a Jewish child marked for death, I survived against great odds with both of my parents. I spent the first four years of my life in hiding, in plain sight, with a false Christian identity. The life I created ultimately has been a successful and fulfilling one, but the early years have left their indelible mark.
"In my decision to tell the story of what happened to my family during the war years, I join the many other survivors who feel the responsibility to record the tragic events of the last century for posterity. For many years after the war, a wall of silence surrounded the Holocaust, and few survivors shared their experiences with the world. Now with the dwindling population of the last living witnesses, the climate has changed, the world is more receptive, and many of us are committed to record our stories. After reading many memoirs, I was inspired to write my own. This autobiography is somewhat unique in its perspective; it goes beyond the war years and focuses on the long-term psychological impact of a hidden childhood.
"Writing was an amazing experience for me. As a very young child survivor, my memories were few and fragmented. Creating a narrative has helped me achieve greater integration and a sense of continuity. The writing process was surprisingly effortless and gratifying. There was a driving force to express myself. Words came to me that I didn't even realize were in my vocabulary. Despite the painful subject, I didn't experience any emotional blocks. I felt empowered and free.
"The memoir has been well received by the general public as well as by a professional readership. It is a crossover book helpful to professionals working with survivors as well as survivors themselves. People who are interested in resilience after tragedy find it inspiring."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2001, George Cohen, review of A Wolf in the Attic: The Legacy of a Hidden Child of the Holocaust, p. 701.
Publishers Weekly, February 18, 2002, review of A Wolf in the Attic, p. 84.
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