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Dietrich Marquardt (Frankfurt/M)

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Before Deportation: Letters from a Mother to Her Daughters, January 1939-December 1942 (Jewish Lives)
Before Deportation: Letters from a Mother to Her Daughters, January 1939-December 1942 (Jewish Lives)
by Hertha Feiner
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A jewish mother during NS-regime in Germany, 15 Feb 2004
This book contains 57 letters written by a mother to her daughters. The mother is living in Berlin, the daughters join a boarding school in Switzerland. The letters were written in the time from the beginning of 1939 to the end of 1942.
In the letters one can read about daily concerns of a normal mother and the typical concerns of teenagers. They do not always harmonize and have to go through to depth and highs of their first love. What makes these letters unique ? The mother, who is divorced, is jewish and lives in a slightly better situation compared with the other Jews because she was married with an "Aryan" German. But even for her, who was working as a teacher, life is getting more and more difficult and depressing. In her work for the jewish community she gets insights into the deportations. With these deportations more and more Jews are brought to the determination camps in the east - mainly to Auschwitz. Reading the letters one can imaging how the ring gets closer month by month - especially after beginning of world war II in 1941. Live is getting a hell on earth for the Jews. Fear of the censor makes Hertha Feiner choice a quite indirect form of expressions in the letters. Astonishing how Feiner bolsters herself and in a different sense her daughters too. It is difficult for her to make it transparent for her daughters how hard her life in Berlin is. In the beginning of 1943 Feiner was deported to Auschwitz.
The letters were edited by Karl Heinz Jahnke, a german historian specialised on NS-regime and resistance against it. The introduction of Jahnke is quite useful especially for readers outsides Germany. Information about the family Feiner and background information about the politics of the Nazis against the Jews are given in an exact and concise manner. The book was excellently translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo

Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life
Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life
by Eric Hobsbawm
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and - at least personally - lucky times, 15 Feb 2004
Who ever is interested in newer history, in extensive portraits of European (and partly non-European) countries or single landscapes and towns (like Cambrigde) and in cultures in their different expressions can raise a treasure here.
Already the chapters about the France and Italy of the decades between 1930 and 1995 (the author actually experienced this period of time personally) are wonderful, small books for itself. Written excellently this book can easily be read and is never superficial. A fine consumption perhaps like the red wine to a good meal. Unfortunately, it is also the slightly melancholy look back to the times that more and more seem to have been the golden age of the last centuries. In terms of Hobsbawm who simplifies consciously it were the times when the rich ones had to fear the poor ones. Hobsbawm considers his own life as an unusual and not at all foreseeable case of luck. It is generous that he invides us to take part in his review of interesting and personally lucky times.
It is one of the best books which I know. I would like to always have a stack to the hand - for giving away a copy to friends.

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