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Four girls from Berlin : a true story of a friendship that defied the Holocaust
Marianne Meyerhoff
Adult Nonfiction F869.L89 J5545 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The author, a filmmaker who conducted oral history interviews for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, recounts the affecting experience of her mother, Lotte, a German Jew who barely escaped the fate of family members murdered by the Nazis. In 1938 Lotte followed her new husband to Cuba on the ill-fated S.S. St. Louis. After the ship was turned back to Europe, she was interned in a Dutch detention camp, smuggled out to Cuba and reunited with her husband (from whom she was later divorced). Lotte mostly refused to talk about the past, but a carton sent by three close German Christian friends from her childhood-Ilonka, Erica and Ursula-loosened her tongue. These young women, at great personal risk, had collected and preserved photos, documents and artifacts from Lotte's family. Because of their gift, Meyerhoff visited Germany many times to meet the surviving Ursula and Erica and their families. Much of the rambling text deals with the closeness that she developed with them and her desire to integrate her warm feelings toward her new friends with the tragic loss of a homeland that darkened her mother's life in America. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Over the past decade, an increasingly common genre of Holocaust memoirs is that in which the children of survivors integrate their own personal stories with a reconstruction of their parents' experiences during the Nazi era. Meyerhoff, a writer/director who worked on the Spielberg Visual Shoah project, offers a contribution to this genre. She begins with her own childhood in wartime Los Angeles, living with a mother who spoke very little English and an absent father serving in the U.S. Army (he divorced the author's mother after the war). Over time, the younger Meyerhoff grasped some details of her mother's story, although it was not until after her mother's death that the full account is revealed. She had been a passenger on the ill-fated USS St. Louis, whose Jewish refugees were denied entry into Cuba and the United States in 1938. Sent to Westerbork concentration camp in Holland for a year, she managed to escape thanks to gentile friends of the title who refused to abandon her. She eventually made it back to Cuba, then America. The younger Meyerhoff intersperses her mother's story with her search for the women who aided her mother and the reconstruction of their experiences during and after the war. While the book is well written, it is not well organized, thus proving more of a challenge than it should be. For Judaica collections and larger public libraries.-Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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