A Bookshop in Berlin: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman’s Harrowing Escape from the Nazis

Francoise Frenkel, trans. from the French by Stephanie Smee. Atria, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9984-4
In this riveting memoir, rediscovered nearly 60 years after its original publication, Jewish bookseller Frenkel documents her harrowing experience escaping Nazi persecution in WWII France. Born in Poland in 1889, Frenkel fulfilled her dream of opening a French-language bookstore called Le Maison du Livre in Berlin in 1921. She fled to Paris after Kristallnacht on Nov. 10, 1938, and escaped Paris in 1940 when the Germans occupied the city. Seeking refuge in Southern France, Frenkel experienced threatening situations while Nazis were “hunting” humans and was smuggled from one safe house to another. She witnessed children being separated from parents and Jews being shipped to camps; while trying to sneak into Switzerland in 1942, she was arrested and held in a French detention center. She was tried for attempting to illegally cross the border and acquitted, and in 1943 successfully found her way into Switzerland, where she began writing her memoir, No Place to Lay One’s Head. After the war—and the book’s publication—Frenkel returned to Nice. Frenkel, who died in 1975, writes that it is “the duty of those who have survived to bear witness to ensure the dead are not forgotten.” Frenkel’s remarkable story of resilience and survival does just that, and will truly resonate with readers. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/26/2019
Release date: 12/03/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-79710-519-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-79710-521-5
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