Author Dr. Alex Sternberg speaks to HACC Media Writing class


Janelle Apruzzese, Contributor

During a time of growing anti-Semitism, the students of Dr. Terracina’s Media Writing, COMM221, were able to remotely meet, speak, and learn a small part of history with the author, Dr. Alex Sternberg.

Dr. Sternberg’s book, “Recipes from Auschwitz: The Survival Stories of 2 Hungarian Jews with Historical Insight” takes us back to follow his family’s story of surviving a German concentration camp, returning home, and their eventual emigration to America.

As a child, the recipes in his book intrigued Dr. Sternberg.  His mother and other Hungarian women would exchange and cook together in their home and community. In the article “Remembering Olga Sternberg’s Auschwitz Experience Through Recreating Her Recipes,” Dr. Sternberg writes that “they would share recipes and various methods that they would use to prepare Shabbos dinner and other special occasions.”

Pulled by the meaning and connection behind the recipes, Dr. Sternberg began preparing his book for publication. This began testing his mother’s recipes. At his wife’s suggestion, he enlisted the help of The Fabulous Foodies Cookbook Club to work through the recipes with him. The women in the club cooked recipes from his mother’s collection, and if the recipes were a success, they included them in the book.

For Dr. Sternberg, the book was a long time coming. Although he had some prior knowledge of what his parents had gone through, it still took him years to gather up more research about the horrific events. He recalled that in his household, “Every conversation leads to Auschwitz.” As a child, when he didn’t want to eat the food made for him, his father would recall that back in the camp, he would’ve given anything to have a bite of that meal. 

Dr. Sternberg was born in Hungary and emigrated to the United States in the 1960s with a career spanning over 50 years. Along with being an author, he also has experience in the fields of medicine, physiology, Holocaust history, and even karate.

While “Recipes from Auschwitz” is not Dr. Sternberg’s first book, it is his first work of historical nonfiction. Through his presentation, it was clear just how much Dr. Sternberg admired and cared for his parents. Although the stories we heard in his presentation were upsetting, they were equally intriguing and beautiful.

I spoke with one attendee, Dominick Bornman, after the presentation. Bornman, who is a Communications major, shared his thoughts on the experience of listening to Dr. Sternberg. He said, “I thought Dr. Sternberg was a great speaker. He was able to put large issues simply and showed that he genuinely cared about everything he spoke on.”

If you would like to experience the story for yourself, “Recipes From Auschwitz” by Dr. Alex Sternberg is available to order or download on Amazon.