By Renata Polt
Those letters to a liked son and his relatives inform the poignant tale of 1 woman's existence in Nazi-occupied Prague and aid clarify why a few Jews stayed at the back of. Henriette Pollatschek was once sixty nine years outdated whilst the Nazis marched into Prague, the place she and her daughter had sought safe haven after fleeing their German-held fatherland in northern Bohemia.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 relatives prompt Henriette to hitch them. yet within the face of what was once then just a obscure and, to many, incredible hazard of probability, she used to be unwilling to desert her monetary independence, her accustomed lifestyle, and the familial gadgets she had collected over an entire life. As residing stipulations for Jews worsened in Nazi-occupied Prague, besides the fact that, Henriette started to have moment recommendations. Her letters to her son and his kinfolk in Havana exhibit an more and more determined state of affairs because the stumbling blocks to flee fixed whereas dwelling stipulations eroded. finally either Henriette and her daughter perished.Henriette Pollatschek's letters supply a close photograph of the lives of Jews in Prague throughout the struggle years: the evictions, the nutrition shortages, the troubles approximately livelihood, and the expanding prohibitions and laws, in addition to the courageous and pleased makes an attempt to take care of a standard existence and endure hardships. Henriette's letters additionally aid clarify why extra Jews didn't get away. As Renata Polt, Henriette's granddaughter, concludes, "Who may well think a Holocaust?" Translated, edited, and annotated by means of Polt and illustrated with intimate family members snapshots, this ebook brings the horrors and dilemmas of the Holocaust alive in a relocating, own account whereas answering pertinent historic questions about the factors of Jews who stayed at the back of. Renata Polt is a free-lance author and movie critic dwelling in Berkeley, California.
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Additional info for A thousand kisses: a grandmother's Holocaust letters
The tornado to which Mamina refers did not delay the Pollatscheks' voyage, though it caused considerable seasickness, especially to Liesel and Hans. They arrived in Havana on April 19. There, they initially stayed in a hotel, where they found life anything but pleasant. The heat and the strangeness of everything were not conducive to relaxation. . Havana lunch of bananas and pineapples" was a bit idealized (letter of April 21). The children found the strange new foods, a combination of Cuban and American, foreign and inedible, and Renate in particular refused to eat.
Their possessionsthe objects they were familiar with and all they had left of their homehad both a real and a symbolic value for them. If they emigrated, most women and retired people stood to lose the nonexportable incomes that gave them independence. " This was true especially of younger persons such as Lene (who was forty-six in 1939); an old person might be expected to be dependent, but a younger womanaccording to that code of behaviorcould accept Page xvi support only from a husband. Lene, whose husband was unable to support her, could not allow her brother to do so.
Now I imagine to myself how you must be sitting under breadfruit trees or cedars, eating your Havana lunch of bananas and pineapples and ice cream or other things, and their resting and resting some more. The children of course will not rest for long, but will go exploring, marveling at the Negroes and Chinese and this whole foreign world. Now I look forward to your letters, which I hope will arrive regularly and tell me much of yourselves and your journey. Lene had a long letter from Peter from Saint Malô, on the coast of Brittany not far from Cherbourg.