A family's recently discovered correspondence provides the inspiration for this fascinating and deeply moving account of Jewish family life before, during and after the Holocaust. Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey reveal how the Kaufmann-Steinberg family was pulled apart under the Nazi regime and dispersed over three continents. The family's unique eight-way correspondence across two generations brings into sharp focus the dilemma of Jews in Nazi Germany facing the painful decisions of when, if, and to where they should emigrate.
Boehling and Larkey capture the family members' fluctuating emotions of hope, optimism, resignation and despair, as well as the day-to-day concerns, experiences and dynamics of family life despite increasing persecution and impending deportation. Headed by two sisters who were among the first female business owners in Essen, the family was far from conventional, and their story contributes new dimensions to our understanding of Jewish life in Germany and in exile during these dark years.
Rebecca Boehling is professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Uta Larkey is associate professor of German at Goucher College.
Part of the Schapiro Lecture Series, sponsored by a generous bequest from Mrs. Gloria L. Schapiro.