By Renata Polt
These letters to a liked son and his family members inform the poignant tale of 1 woman's lifestyles in Nazi-occupied Prague and aid clarify why a few Jews stayed behind.
Henriette Pollatschek used to be sixty nine years outdated whilst the Nazis marched into Prague, the place she and her daughter had sought safe haven after fleeing their German-held native land in northern Bohemia. Henriette's son and his kinfolk had already escaped to Switzerland and later to Cuba and the USA. At each one step of ways, her relations suggested Henriette to hitch them. yet within the face of what was once then just a imprecise and, to many, unimaginable hazard of hazard, she used to be unwilling to desert her monetary independence, her accustomed lifestyle, and the familial gadgets she had collected over a life-time. As dwelling stipulations for Jews worsened in Nazi-occupied Prague, although, Henriette started to have moment strategies. Her letters to her son and his kinfolk in Havana demonstrate an more and more determined scenario because the stumbling blocks to flee fastened whereas residing stipulations eroded. finally either Henriette and her daughter perished.
Henriette Pollatschek's letters supply an in depth photo of the lives of Jews in Prague through the warfare years: the evictions, the nutrition shortages, the concerns approximately livelihood, and the expanding prohibitions and rules, in addition to the courageous and joyful makes an attempt to take care of an ordinary lifestyles and undergo hardships. Henriette's letters additionally support clarify why extra Jews didn't get away. As Renata Polt, Henriette's granddaughter, concludes, "Who may perhaps think a Holocaust?"
Translated, edited, and annotated by means of Polt and illustrated with intimate relations snapshots, this booklet brings the horrors and dilemmas of the Holocaust alive in a relocating, own account whereas answering pertinent ancient questions on the explanations of Jews who stayed in the back of.
Renata Polt is a free-lance author and movie critic dwelling in Berkeley, California.
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Extra info for A Thousand Kisses : A Grandmother's Holocaust Letters (Judaic Studies)
Why did they go "like lambs to the slaughter," as some writers have claimed? Perhaps the realities of Mamina's life can shed some new light on the problem. Mamina and Lene were not among those Jews lacking the money to emigrate or the connections abroad to get them the required affidavits of financial support. Such persons were often aided by Jewish and other organizations. Rather, as members of the upper middle class, the two women were, ironically, in a worse position, having more to lose. Their possessionsthe objects they were familiar with and all they had left of their homehad both a real and a symbolic value for them.
You should both first of all really recover your strength and take care of yourselves until you are accustomed to the climate and plunge into your work; it would do you much good to stay a while in a hotel where Liesel, especially, could get some rest. 9. Josefine Lederer, Liesel Pollatschek's mother, Friedrich's mother-in-law Page 4 Yesterday noon, Tante Tonscha, Fritz and Lene were here. We enjoyed a good roast lamb; the male guest in particular developed a fabulous appetite. This afternoon we will be at Lene's.
My father, raised in some nominally Jewish way, had broken with religion altogether when he was about eighteen (because of a falling-out with the rabbi, he once told me, without elaborating). My brother and I were baptized Lutheran, though I can scarcely remember attending church. The fact is that nobody in the family took religion, of whatever denomination, seriously, with the exception of Mamina's brother, known as Onkel Fritz, who was an ardent convert to Catholicism. Lene and her family had also converted, but the change had apparently had little effect on their lives.