My Dear Ones: One Family and the Final Solution

My Dear Ones: One Family and the Final Solution

by Jonathan Wittenberg


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‘Moving – at times almost unbearably so – and fascinating’ Antonia FraserA family’s story of human tenacity, faith and a race for survival in the face of unspeakable horror and cruelty perpetrated by the Nazi regime against the Jewish people.Growing up in the safety of Britain, Jonathan Wittenberg was deeply aware of his legacy as the child of refugees from Nazi Germany. Yet, like so many others there is much he failed to ask while those who could have answered his questions were still alive.After burying their aunt Steffi in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, Jonathan, now a rabbi, accompanies his cousin Michal as she begins to clear the flat in Jerusalem where the family have lived since fleeing Germany in the 1930s. Inside an old suitcase abandoned on the balcony they discover a linen bag containing a bundle of letters left untouched for decades. Jonathan’s attention is immediately captivated as he tries to decipher the faded writing on the long-forgotten letters. They eventually draw him into a profound and challenging quest to uncover the painful details of his father’s family’s history.Through the wartime correspondence of his great-grandmother Regina and his grandmother, aunts and uncles, Jonathan weaves together the strands of an ancient rabbinical family with the history of Europe during the Second World War and the unfolding policies of the Nazis, telling the moving story of a family whose lives are as fragile as the paper on which they write, but whose faith in God remains steadfast.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780008158064
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication date: 04/24/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 615,619
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow, a child of refugees from Nazi Germany. He grew up in London, studied at Cambridge and is currently rabbi of the New North London Synagogue and Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK. He is especially committed to interfaith understanding and pastoral care. He is a regular broadcaster, and lives in North London with his wife and children.

Table of Contents

The Freimann Family Tree x

Map of Nazi Europe, 1938-41 xii

1 The Gravestone and the Trunk 1

2 An Unwelcome Letter 15

3 The Roots of a Rabbinical Family 29

4 'Discharged from Your Duties' 47

5 Struggling to Decide 55

6 Interned in Buchenwald 71

7 An Understandable Choice 99

8 'Gone as Usual to the Tailor in Olmütz' 117

9 A Birthday Party to Remember 137

10 'We Will Not Be Separated' 165

11 'We Can Still Be of Help to Others' 179

12 'Never Hanker after What Is Gone' 195

13 Making a Home in Ostrów Lubelski 227

14 Letters Between Jerusalem and New York 251

15 Farewell to Holešov 267

16 Eastwards from Theresienstadt 287

17 An Extraordinary Exchange 299

18 Inferring from the Silence 307

19 Sophie's Silver 317

20 Building New Lives 325

21 One More Letter 341

Suggested Further Reading 348

Notes 349

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