A BOOK by ME: Holocaust Series

True stories written by children for children

™



Teaching History, Tolerance, Courage, Compassion, Kindness, Perseverance, Integrity, Cooperation and more.
Announcing a new title in the A BOOK by ME series
#52 A Hidden Life
H#52
The story of Jewish survivor Michelle Rubovitz as told by
author/illustrator Chloe Marie Gosa of Rock Island, Illinois

 

This week we highlight our young author and illustrator Chloe Marie Gosa of Rock Island, Illinois. Chloe's grandmother is Dr. Marrietta Castle, a distinguished member of the Holocaust Education Committee of the Greater Quad Cities. Chloe's grand parents lived next door to the Rubovitz family in Rock Island for many years. She has known Michelle her entire life and it's an honor to tell her story through ABBM.

Michelle and her husband, Rabbi Chuck Rubovitz, live in Joliet where he is Rabbi at Joliet Jewish Congregation. Grants are being written through the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities this spring to put this book (and many others as well) into schools in Iowa and Illinois. If grants are received, these books will soon be in the hands of teachers and students.

Today we salute both Michelle and Chloe for telling this amazing story. Through her work at the public library, many students in the Quad Cities know Michelle.  The Holocaust will become more real to them when they read this book.
We encourage other young authors (especially those personally knowing survivor stories or having stories in their families) to embark on this amazing journey of writing the stories for future generations.

Michelle Trop Rubovitz
When Michelle Trop was born on June 2, 1938, her family was living in the small village of Orleanais, France located about 30 miles southwest of Lyon. Her parents, Sonia and Jacob Trop, had moved to southern France in 1936. Before that they lived in Grodno, Poland. Jacob's and Sonia's families had lived in Poland for many generations. Jacob's father, his grandfather, and all his uncles had been bakers there. Although Jacob made a living in Orleanais as a plumber, Michelle later recalled how good he was at baking because he grew up around bakers. She especially remembered that he made a wonderful jelly roll treat for Rosh Hashanah each year after the war.
As more and more restrictions were being placed on their lives as Jews living in Poland, the Trops began to think of leaving. Riots in that country reflected a growing anti-Semitism, and when Hitler took over Germany, they heard about the horrible things that were happening to the Jews there. So, when the Trops moved to France, they thought they would be avoiding many of these problems. In the early 1930s, even before the Trops moved to France, two of Sonia's aunts immigrated from Poland to the Untied States with their families in order to escape persecution.

Between 1936 and 1939 life for the Trop family in Orleanais was a happy one. Jacob's business as a plumber was going well, and Sonia enjoyed being a homemaker caring for baby Michelle. Their home was in a two-story, C-shaped building, with Jacob's plumbing shop downstairs and the living quarters upstairs over the shop. Michelle remembers that beautiful flowerboxes were situated in every window across the top floor.

When German troops invaded Poland in the fall of 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Jacob became increasingly concerned that France would fall under Nazi rule, which it eventually did. Of course, being Jewish meant the possibility of being sent to a concentration camp or being killed outright. At that time he decided to go underground and join the French resistance, so he arranged for Sonia and baby Michelle to live with a Catholic family on a remote farm in the French countryside.

Michelle was only one year old when she arrived at the farm with her mother, so she was too young to even remember having lived in Orleanais before the war. She and her mother remained on the farm for the next six years. Her earliest memories are of life on the farm. The farmer's wife treated Sonia and Michelle as part of her family and told Nazi soldiers, when they came to inquire, that both husbands were away fighting in the French army. In order to protect Michelle and her own life, Sonia didn't tell Michelle that she had a father or even that she was Jewish. Sonia knew that if Michelle were questioned by anyone about these matters, she could answer truthfully without any knowledge of either. That's why, when Michelle was question about her father by a Nazi soldier who came to the farm, she answered, "I don't have a father."

Jacob visited Sonia at night several times over those six years, without Michelle ever knowing that he came and went. She happily played around the farm, climbing cherry trees in the orchard and taking care of her baby brother, Charles, who was born on November 10, 1942. Michelle remembered running to hide in the cherry orchard when her baby brother, whom she was supposed to be watching over, fell down an outside stairway. He was not badly injured, but Michelle knew she would be blamed for his fall. After her father returned in 1945, Michelle learned that he had also hid in a cherry tree at one time to avoid being discovered by the Nazi soldiers who visited the farmhouse.

Although Michelle's father rarely mentioned his activities while fighting with the French Underground, he did tell a story about being captured one day along with some of his fellow partisans. They were put into a camp and then were forced to march in a line to what he though was likely a certain death. Realizing what was going on, he began looking for a way out. As the line moved past a small, wooden building, he noticed that a plumber had left his tools and coveralls behind. Carefully sneaking out of the line, he put on the coveralls, picked up the tools and some pipes lying nearby, and walked out of the camp right under the noses of the guards.

In the spring of 1945 when World War II ended in Europe, the Trop family moved back to Orleanais to resume their life together there as a family. At seven years old, Michelle found out that she did indeed have a father. Her first memory of discovering that she was Jewish was when the family celebrated Passover that spring and her father brought out the Matzoh. She knew nothing about Passover, had never seen Matzoh before, and had not tasted chicken soup with matzo balls like Sonia prepared. From that time onward, her family celebrated the Jewish holidays and Michelle began to learn Hebrew.Spring of 1945 was also when Sonia's cousin Mitchell came to visit the family Orleanais. He was the son of one of Sonia's aunts who had immigrated to the United States from Poland in the early 1930s. Michelle remembered being in awe of this handsome American soldier when he visited her home, but she was also confused at first when she heard Sonia call him by name and give him a big hug. His visit was a most happy reunion, but Michelle couldn't understand what was said at that time because her parents spoke Yiddish, a language similar to Germany used mostly by Jews from Eastern Europe. Mitchell had obviously learned Yiddish from his parents. Otherwise, he would not have been able to communicate with Sonia and Jacob at that first meeting. Michelle later learned her parents spoke Polish, Russian, and German, and they read Hebrew.

With the help of Mitchell's family in America as sponsors, the Trop family (with a new daughter Annick, born October 11, 1946) was able to immigrate to the United States in 1950. Today Michelle lives in Joliet, Illinois with her husband of 52 years, Rabbi Chuck Rubovitz. For years they lived in Rock Island, Illinois where Michelle worked for the public library. They raised their two sons, David and Robert there and today have four beautiful grandchildren: Sara Brinna, Jakob, Kyle and Evie.

Deb Bowen
Creator, A BOOK by ME
To learn more about A BOOK by ME...
esther avruch young framed Esther katz - young framed esther schiff - young framed
A BOOK by ME was born to tell the stories of three Jewish survivors from the Quad Cities, each named Esther.  We honor our friends Esther Avruch, Esther Katz and Esther Schiff.  Because of the inspiration they provided, 70 stories have been written or are in process.

I'm asking ordinary children all over the world to use their talents to share extraordinary stories. Many students write about Holocaust survivors, Righteous Gentiles (non-Jews who risked their lives to save the Jewish people), prison camp liberators and other important stories of World War II. Since this generation is getting older, the time to interview them, write and illustrate their important story is RIGHT NOW!
-Deb Bowen

The University of Iowa Press is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Iowa Short Fiction Awards. Tessa Mellas is the winner of the 2013 Iowa Short Fiction Award for her collection Lungs Full of Noise. Kate Milliken's If I'd Known You Were Coming is the winner of the 2013 John Simmons Short Fiction Award. The recipients were selected by Julie Orringer, author of The Invisible Bride and How to Breathe Underwater.

 

About the authors

Tessa Mellas's stories have appeared in 52 Stories, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Hayden's Ferry Review, and StoryQuarterly. Born in northern New York, she lived her childhood in ice rinks and competed in synchronized skating. A devoted vegetarian and environmentalist, she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two cats and teaches writing at Ohio State University. Kate Milliken's stories have appeared in Fiction, New Orleans Review, Five Chapters, and Santa Monica Review, among others. A graduate of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Tin House summer writing workshops, Kate has also written for television and commercial advertising. She currently teaches for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and lives in Mill Valley, California, with her family.

 

About the collections

In the thirteen stories of Lungs Full of Noise, Mellas explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls set out to remedy the misdirections of their lives in bold and reckless ways. Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcée steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. But it is not only the characters who are in crisis; personal disasters mirror the dissolution of the natural world. The sky erupts with feathers as all the birds in a city crash into glass towers. In another story, all the color has drained from the sky and grandmothers believe the whiteness will blind everyone. Orringer says, "Mellas is a visionary, possessed of the ability to take us to worlds we've never imagined but that reveal our all-too-familiar hopes, fears, and vulnerabilities. Her stories are lyrical, laced with exquisite detail and image. They show their intelligence not only through their originality but also, and perhaps more importantly, through their sense of humor. Our children may baffle us, bodies may deceive us, our friends may confound us, but at least, these stories suggest, we are not alone. Tessa Mellas has made our human community richer with this deeply original and unforgettable book."

 

In If I'd Known You Were Coming, Milliken shows us what can happen when the uninvited guest of our darkest desires comes to call. Whether surrounded by the white noise of a Hollywood celebration or enduring a stark winter in Maine, these characters yearn to heal old wounds with new hurts. In "A Matter of Time," a mother driven by greed unwittingly finds out how far her needs will allow her to go. A hand model surprises himself and everyone else at the birthday party of an old friend's daughter. In "Names for a Girl," a woman evaluates the meaning of the familial stories that we carry with us from birth. These stories about family, desire, betrayal, love, and regret possess that uncanny ability to reveal us to ourselves. Orringer says, "Milliken's stories burn straight to the darkest places in our hearts, speaking aloud the thoughts we hardly dare to call our own. In twelve flawless pieces, Milliken expertly illuminates the aftermath of abandonment; her characters, cast adrift, find themselves painfully alone, futilely seeking what was torn away long ago. Milliken writes with merciless precision about women and men, about the old and the young, about the betrayers and betrayed. You will stay up all night to learn the fates of these people, who will become as real to you as anyone you know."

 

About the Iowa Short Fiction Awards

The short fiction awards are given to a first collection of fiction in English and are administered through the Iowa Writers' Workshop. The honors are national in scope and have been given since 1969. The John Simmons Short Fiction Award (named for the first director of the University of Iowa Press) was created in 1988 to complement the existing Iowa Short Fiction Award.

 

The short fiction award winners will be published by the University of Iowa Press in the fall of 2013.

Papers on Language and Culture: An African Perspective' gathers academic writings into one volume

UPLAND, Ind. - Drawn from years of presentations and publications, "Papers on Language and Culture: An African Perspective" (published by AuthorHouse), by Mary Nyambura Muchiri, Ph.D., collects documents that explore African culture from a non-Western perspective.

 

"Papers on Language and Culture: An African Perspective" is about main African concepts like Ubuntu, Bantu rhetoric, African proverbs and naming systems. It deals with other issues such as women and land, African-initiated churches, academic writing and university examinations. The last section is on semantic domains of one of the Bantu languages.

 

An excerpt from "Papers on Language and Culture: An African Perspective":

 

You are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others the permission to do the same.

Muchiri knows the need for her book is present. "We are living in a global society," she says,
"and hence the need to understand the culture of others, if we are to respect and understand our differences, rather than fear them."

"Papers on Language and Culture: An African Perspective"

By Mary Nyambura Muchiri, Ph.D.

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 292 pages | ISBN 9781438912363

E-Book | 292 pages | ISBN 9781468527353

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Mary Nyambura Muchiri is an associate professor of English at Taylor University. She has a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom. Her other books are "Communication Skills: A Self-Study Course for Universities and Colleges" and "Saved Through Fire: A Family Experiences Kenya's War of Independence." Her interests include research in college writing, colonial and post-colonial literature and women's issues.

Muchiri is also the author of "The Power of Story: Global Myths on the Origins and Character of Black People" and "His Banner Over Me Is Love: The dreams of An African Woman."

fuzzy green plantSpring will be here (soon, we promise!), so why not get in the mood for all things green with a new program series from your library? Liven Up Your Landscape will help your garden and yard bloom with new ideas. March programs include :

 

Go Wild-Go Native, Wednesday, March 6, 6:30 pm, Rock Island Main Library 2nd floor. Looking for some new ideas for your garden? Head to the Library for an evening with Marilyn Andress from the Interstate RC&D-RiverBend Wildland Stewards. Marilyn will present benefits, tips and recommendations for adding wild and native plants to your garden.

 

Putting Some Herbs in Your Life, Wednesday, March 13, 6:30 pm, Rock Island Main Library 2nd floor. Herbs add flavor and color to your garden and your home. Peg Christensen, from QC Herbs, will share her knowledge about herbs and how easily you can add them to your most areas of your life - kitchen, bathroom, closets and more.

 

There's more in April: Check our library website for dates!

Check www.RedIsforRage.com for more information on Connie (Corcoran) Wilson's new E-book release, second in THE COLOR OF EVIL series, which will be out in paperback at the end of March with a book signing at The Book Rack in Moline, Illinois, on April 27th.
A book signing was held in Sydney, Australia at the Galaxy Bookstore (131 York Street) on February 7th and another will be held at the Book Cellar in Chicago on Wednesday, February 20, at 7 p.m.
THE COLOR OF EVIL (www.TheColorOfEvil.com) won the E-Lit Gold Medal (Jenkins group), the Silver Feather from the Chicago chapter of the Illinois Women's Press Association, and is on the Preliminary Ballot (10 finalists) for the Bram Stoker (R) Award in the Young Adult Novel category.
Read more about Connie (Corcoran) Wilson's other published works at her website (www.ConnieCWilson.com) and at the links above. The book is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Davenport Public Library is proud to announce KennethWayne Thompson as its new director.   Mr. Thompson is from Georgia and is honored to be selected as the library's new director.  Mr. Thompson says, "I am excited about my role as Library Director of the Davenport Public Library and look forward to becoming actively involved in the community. The citizens of Davenport deserve the best library system possible and that will always be my focus. Leading such a great library system is a dream come true!" 

KennethWayne is expected to start as the library's director the beginning of April, until that time, Amy Groskopf, Associate Director for Resource Services will continue as interim director.

The library staff and board were very happy to have three strong candidates interview for the position in January and are eager to have KennethWayne as their new director.  The candidates were chosen by the search firm Keister & Associates, after the announcement of LaWanda Roudebush's retirement.  LaWanda's last day was January 31, 2013.

For more information you may contact Steve Hart, PR & Marketing Coordinator at the Davenport Public Library.

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Former Des Moines School Board Director and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse and his wife, Kerin Narcisse will be guests on "The Katie Show's" annual "Unforgettable Weddings" show to air February 14th - Valentine's Day.

"The Katie Show" hosted by Katie Couric will feature a segment with three couples and their "unforgettable weddings" including a couple's wedding caught in a sandstorm, a couple's wedding ending with the entire wedding party falling into water after the pier crashed during photos, and the Narcisses who were married in a hot air balloon in San Diego prior to the balloon crashing.

After watching the videos and hearing from the newlyweds the all bride audience will select America's most unforgettable wedding.

Jonathan Narcisse served on the Des Moines School Board from 2007-2009 and has been a longtime education and government reform advocate. He finished third out of six candidates in the 2010 gubernatorial contest behind Governor Terry Branstad and Governor Chet Culver earning support in all 99 counties and nearly every Iowa precinct. Narcisse is also Editor-in-Chief of the Iowa Bystander Newspaper founded in 1894.

Kerin (Lang) Narcisse is an Iowa native and graduate of Humboldt High School. She is an ordained Presbyterian Pastor and educator. She has been a resident of San Diego, California and has served the last decade as a Chaplain with San Diego Hospice. She also served as a Pastor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and will join Iowa Health System next month as a Hospice Chaplain.

It was always Kerin's dream to get married in a hot air balloon. 

After the friends reconnected late November the six week romance ended with the couple taking their vows in a hot air balloon overlooking the pacific ocean, the sun setting with clouds as their witness.

Following the ceremony the landing went bad with the balloon just missing traffic, buzzing homes and trees, hitting a tree, missing powerlines and the powergrid by about six feet prior to crashing to the earth where they bounced twice and were then dragged into a steel fence and giant thorn bushes. The balloon covered a house and the basket came to rest on a cliff.

Kerin suffered a concussion and the wedding party suffered minor injuries but the near death experience could have been much worse.

Mark Carlile, a resident who observed the crash and assisted the wedding party, alerted the local media. The couple was interviewed at their wedding dinner by local media and within hours video and story went viral being featured on every major news network in the U.S. and media throughout the world.

DAVENPORT (February 11, 2013 ) ? Author Joan Mauch will be signing copies of her debut novel, HALIFAX (Whiskey Creek Press, 2013) from 11-2:00 on Saturday, March 2 at The Book Rack's Davenport store 4764 Elmore Ave. (across from Best Buy) and on the following Saturday, March 9 at the store's Moline location, 3937 41 Ave.
In her novel, author Joan Mauch spins the chilling tale of a woman who kills a man in self-defense only to discover she enjoyed it and now fears she may be turning into a serial killer. In a review of the book, Michael Romkey, author of I, VAMPIRE and nine other novels writes:
"Eleanor Hurley is a woman leading a life of quiet desperation when a single moment of violence changes everything. Eleanor kills a homicidal man to save a group of children. This lethal act releases Eleanor from her former existence, yet her freedom comes with a price. Eleanor is not repulsed by her capacity for violence, but rather exhilarated by her unsuspected power to take a life. Frightened at the darkness within, Eleanor flees, but cannot run away from herself, or from the troubles that lie ahead in Halifax. Author Joan Mauch delves into the psychology of the average person and discovers that what lies beneath the surface is something complex, disturbing and altogether unexpected."
Reader Diane W.of Spokane, Wash., calls the plot amazingly topical. "Violence, bullying, murder, psychopaths/sociopaths are in the headlines and in HALIFAX as well." Referring to the main character, Eleanor Hurley, she writes: "She is a most interesting character. ...not worldly-wise at all, a sort of lamb. I recognize parts of myself in Ellie. I think most people will."
Michael McCarty, author of over 30 books including the recently released CONVERSATIONS WITH KRESKIN says HALIFAX is "a sojourn of discovery spanning two countries from sunny Florida to eastern Canada. Joan Mauch begins her novel-writing career with such an impressive piece of work. Highly, highly recommended."
Chicago playwright Richard James Zieman writes, "What is keeping me turning the page is the writing. It comforts my senses like a boat floating in perfect rhythm on genteel waves. I am on page 24 and still want to read more because for me, the story has struck a chord. I love psychological thrillers. I like her (Eleanor Hurley), have empathy for her and already find myself rooting for her."
A native of Illinois, Joan has lived in Washington state, Oregon and Chicago over the course of her life, variously working as a teacher, public aid caseworker, head of a nonprofit housing development corporation, real estate sales agent, public relations executive and vice president of marketing for a national association. Nine years ago Ms. Mauch, a native of the Quad-Cities, relocated from Chicago to Davenport where she divides her time between proofreading at a local newspaper and novel writing. Joan holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in urban studies.
HALIFAX may be purchased as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Whiskey Creek's website: whiskeycreekpress.com. Buy the paperback at The Book Rack or order it through Ms. Mauch's website at: www.joanmauch.com.
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Carolyn Mitchell shares second book featuring furry friend Riley Chester-field Mouse

HICKMAN, Neb. - In her second imaginative tale featuring Riley Chester-field Mouse, "The Tale of the Pumpkin Seed Squad" (published by AuthorHouse), author Carolyn Mitchell has penned yet another adventure starring the tiny hero.

In "The Tale of the Pumpkin Seed Squad," Riley joins his friends in an exciting football game using a pumpkin seed as the ball. The comical twists in the game come vibrantly alive through clever rhyme and captivating illustrations by Brenda Timms.

"The Tale of the Pumpkin Seed Squad" is a delightful commentary on competition and sportsmanship that will surely charm even the least of its budding-athlete readers. It is a light-hearted tale that captures a fun and familiar topic in an easy-to-read rhyme, vividly bringing each character and storyline to life.

Mitchell explains that her book is important because she feels the "basic values of friendship and sportsmanship are important to emphasize in an increasingly busy and secular society."

About the Author and Illustrator

Following a successful nursing career, Carolyn Mitchell now enthusiastically pursues her lifelong interest in writing and poetic expression. Through this series of engaging rhyming tales, she aims to foster a continuing excitement for reading in children of all ages. Mitchell lives on a farm near Hickman, Neb., with her husband, Daryl. Together they've raised three daughters and have six grandchildren.

Illustrator Brenda Timms is a gifted and successful artist who expresses her talents through multiple mediums. Equally at ease with oils and acrylics in her paintings, she has also created many amazing sculptures on both small and life-sized scales. After rearing a daughter and son in her native Nebraska countryside, Timms now continues her artistic endeavors in Georgia.

For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.

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DAVENPORT (February 5, 2013 ) ? In her debut novel, HALIFAX (Whiskey Creek Press)  author Joan Mauch spins the chilling tale of a woman who kills a man in self-defense only to discover she enjoyed it and now fears she may be turning into a serial killer. In a review of the book, Michael Romkey, author of I, VAMPIRE and nine other novels writes:
"Eleanor Hurley is a woman leading a life of quiet desperation when a single moment of violence changes everything. Eleanor kills a homicidal man to save a group of children. This lethal act releases Eleanor from her former existence, yet her freedom comes with a price. Eleanor is not repulsed by her capacity for violence, but rather exhilarated by her unsuspected power to take a life. Frightened at the darkness within, Eleanor flees, but cannot run away from herself, or from the troubles that lie ahead in Halifax. Author Joan Mauch delves into the psychology of the average person and discovers that what lies beneath the surface is something complex, disturbing and altogether unexpected."
Former librarian Diane Willett of Spokane, Wash., calls the plot amazingly topical. "Violence, bullying, murder, psychopaths/sociopaths are in the headlines and in HALIFAX as well." Referring to the main character, Eleanor Hurley, she writes: "She is a most interesting character. ...not worldly-wise at all, a sort of lamb. I recognize parts of myself in Ellie. I think most people will."
Michael McCarty the author of over 30 books including the recently released CONVERSATIONS WITH KRESKIN says HALIFAX is "a sojourn of discovery spanning two countries from sunny Florida to eastern Canada. Joan Mauch begins her novel-writing career with such an impressive piece of work. Highly, highly recommended."
Chicago playwright Richard James Zieman writes, "What is keeping me turning the page is the writing. It comforts my senses like a boat floating in perfect rhythm on genteel waves. I am on page 24 and still want to read more because for me, the story has struck a chord. I love psychological thrillers. I like her (Eleanor Hurley), have empathy for her and already find myself rooting for her."
A native of Illinois, Joan has lived in Washington state, Oregon and Chicago over the course of her life, variously working as a teacher, public aid caseworker, head of a nonprofit housing development corporation, real estate sales agent, public relations executive and vice president of marketing for a national association. Nine years ago Ms. Mauch a native of the Quad-Cities, relocated from Chicago to Davenport where she divides her time between proofreading at The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus newspapers and novel writing. Joan holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in urban studies.
Joan will be signing copies of HALIFAX from 11-2:00 on Saturday, March 2 at The Book Rack's Davenport store at 4764 Elmore Ave. (across from Best Buy) and on the following Saturday, March 9 at the store's Moline location, 3937 41 Ave.
HALIFAX may be purchased as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel or Whiskey Creek's website: whiskeycreekpress.com. Buy the paperback at The Book Rack or order it through Ms. Mauch's website at: www.joanmauch.com.
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