"My Wounded Heart" is an edited collection of correspondence between a Jewish mother and her children, before and during the war. It depicts the disintegration of a happy family unit as Lilli, the mother of five, is arrested by the Gestapo on a trumped-up charge and sent to a labour camp. With a sense of appalling inevitability, her high hopes of an early release give way slowly to a dawning realisation of her ultimate fate at Auschwitz. For the sake of her estranged children, being brought up by the 12-year-old Ilse amidst the chaos and destruction of frequent air-raids, Lille maintains an optimism and cheerfulness in the face of all odds. The reader's understanding of the reality of the "Final Solution" - unheard of in 1943, of course, as Lilli patiently awaits her fate, give the book an acute sense of pathos, leading ultimately to the tragedy of her death, cynically managed and coldly reported by the authorities.
The impact of "My Wounded Heart" bears close similarity to that of "Diary of a Young Girl". The maturity of the letters, and our awareness of the agony of a mother's separation from her children, mean that the effect, if anything, is even more poignant. A personal memorial to Martin Doerry's grandmother, and a forceful insight into the human cost of the Nazi regime.