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Four Girls From Berlin: A True Story of a Friendship That Defied the Holocaust

Four Girls From Berlin: A True Story of a Friendship That Defied the Holocaust
Author: Marianne Meyerhoff
ISBN 13: 9780471224051
ISBN 10: 471224057
Edition: 1
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: 2007-08-01
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 241
List Price: $24.95

A pair of silver Regency candlesticks.

Pieces of well-worn family jewelry.

More than a thousand documents, letters, and photographs

Lotte Meyerhoff's best friends risked their lives in Nazi Germany to safeguard these and other treasured heirlooms and mementos from her family and return them to her after the war. The Holocaust had left Lotte the lone survivor of her family, and these precious objects gave her back a crucial piece of her past. Four Girls from Berlin vividly recreates that past and tells the story of Lotte and her courageous non-Jewish friends Ilonka, Erica, and Ursula as they lived under the shadow of Hitler in Berlin.

Written by Lotte's daughter, Marianne, this powerful memoir celebrates the unseverable bonds of friendship and a rich family legacy the Holocaust could not destroy.

"What a delightful book, and important, too. It gives us the courage and inspiration to utterly reject the fatalistic idea that fratricide, polemic, and enmity between Christians and Jews is inevitable and unchangeable. Finally, it reminds us never to forget or fail to appreciate those forces of light that bear witness to, and instill hope for, mankind and our world."
—Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

"Four Girls From Berlin is an evocative story of friendship, challenged in the most sinister environment. For Christians, it echoes the words of Jesus, 'greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.' The friendship of these four women, three Christians and a Jew, speaks of a greater humanity that in the face of the Nazi horror could not be broken. I stronglyrecommend men and women of all faiths to learn from it."
—The Venerable Lyle Dennen, Archdeacon, London, England

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.)

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