cover image Summons to Berlin: Nazi Theft and a Daughter’s Quest for Justice

Summons to Berlin: Nazi Theft and a Daughter’s Quest for Justice

Joanne Intrator. She Writes, $17.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-647-42513-5

Psychiatrist Intrator debuts with a passionate memoir about seeking restitution for her family’s financial losses under Nazi rule. In the 1930s, Intrator’s grandfather was a successful Berlin businessman, and her father was a promising law student. The city’s increasingly restrictive environment for Jews led to the forced auction of the family’s commercial building in East Berlin; it was turned into a factory that produced Nazi flags and the yellow stars Jewish citizens were made to wear. Nearly a century later, Intrator—whose family avoided Nazi camps by escaping to the United States—is tasked with proving that her family lost the building due to antisemitism in order to receive reparations for its seizure. As a psychiatrist, Intrator is attuned to the micro and macro traumas of the Holocaust and its legacy, regularly calling out the “stonewalling” and “gaslighting” tactics she confronts from the contemporary German government. She’s also sharply aware of the psychological toll her quest takes on her; when she meets with an unsympathetic German attorney, she admits, “it was degrading... knowing that people such as [him] enjoy[ed] full access to the society from which my family had been ousted.” Though the specifics of German law can be confusing and dry, Intrator succeeds in the family-focused portions of her narrative. This is a unique and memorable account of untangling inherited trauma. Agent: Jennifer Utner, Utner Agency. (Aug.)