This is a very necessary book for anyone who would understand the effects of Nazi racial politics on individuals. In clear and direct, but extremely moving prose, George Clare describes his family's services to Austria over the years (including in the Austro-Hungarian army) and his own early life in Vienna as a member of an assimilated Jewish family. But behind his idyllic early life is the growing menance of German and Austrian Nazism. The sheer ordinariness of a childhood and adolescence with his universal experiences makes a dramatic contrast with the extraordinary fate that overtakes the Klaars. George escapes to ultimately join the British Army but his parents and other members of his family are deported to be murdered in extermination camps in Poland. At the end of the book, George returns to France, many years later, to piece together his parents' last months of peace and their eventual terrible fate. On the way, Clare explains clearly the growth of Nazism in Austria and how Hitler was able to bully his native land into union with the German Reich. Superbly written, this is a heartbreaking account of how one family's fate encapsulates in microcosm the destruction of a way of life, a culture, a people and an entire country.
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