A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped
Publication Year: 2009
Haunted by his parents’ horrific suffering and traumatic losses under Nazi rule, Lev Raphael grew up loathing everything German. Those feelings shaped his Jewish identity, his life, and his career. While researching his mother’s war years after her death, he discovers a distant relative living in the very city where she had worked in a slave labor camp, found freedom, and met his father. Soon after, Raphael is launched on book tours in Germany and, in the process, redefines himself as someone unafraid to face the past and let it go.
Bookmarks, “Top Ten Nonfiction Titles of 2009”
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Many people have made me feel welcome in Germany and I am grateful to all of them: Christiane L�hnemann and Gerald Warnecke, Pascal Begrich, Ulrike Schuh-Fricke, Manfred Strack...
Prologue: A Tale of Two Trains
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I am on a train heading into Magdeburg, in eastern Germany, about two hours southwest of Berlin. Sixty-one years ago my late mother was on a very different sort of train headed for Magdeburg. Hers didn’t have a dining car or changing electronic displays...
Part One: Haunted House
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Though I’ve always loved listening to, reading, and writing stories, I was never very interested in ghost stories as a child. That’s because I grew up right in the middle of one. Like many children of Holocaust survivors, I lived in a haunted house. There were ghosts all...
Part Two: Mysterious Jews
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The books my mother borrowed each week from the library when I was growing up were almost always mysteries: Agatha Christie, John Creasey, Ngaio Marsh. When she wasn’t shopping, cleaning, or taking care of us, she had her nose in a mystery. I think my...
Part Three: Voyage of Discovery
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In the early 1990s, when I was starting to have my books published, an author friend raved to me about how well he had been treated in Germany after some of his books had been translated into German and he did a book tour. It wasn’t like being in an American...
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In 2006 I spoke at a prestigious Jewish cultural center on the East Coast, which contacted me after receiving a publisher’s mailing about my new book of short stories Secret Anniversaries of the Heart...
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Publication Year: 2009