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Hardcover Four Girls from Berlin: A True Story of a Friendship That Defied the Holocaust Book

ISBN: 0471224057

ISBN13: 9780471224051

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

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Spiritual Healing through Unconditional Love

Rich in heartfelt emotion and profound wisdom, this exceptionally well-written piece is a multi-faceted literary gem. Brilliant first-time author Marianne Meyerhoff empathetically chronicles her mother Lotte's fragile reawakening to life years after a harrowing solo escape from the Nazis to America left her in torment and shock as the only survivor of her extended Jewish family. One fateful day a huge, mysterious container arrives at their door in Hollywood, California, like a special delivery from God. It contains family heirlooms, treasured photos, letters, and documents. Lotte's closest German girlfriends, none a Jew, courageously and repeatedly risked their lives to smuggle them out of her family's home in Berlin and restore them to her after the war. From Ms. Meyerhoff's diligent quest for personal identity and family history emerges an unforgettable saga. It honors the enduring, inter-generational friendships between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans who courageously defied, sometimes openly, the Nazi tyranny and persecution destroying their country and robbing them of their loved ones. As engaging as her narrative is, the philosophical examination of key issues inherent within her characters' tragic circumstances equally compels our reflection. She gives voice to the view that forgiveness is most of all for the sake of the one forgiving, who needs to be released from remaining a victim. For Marianna's grandfather, the Old Professor, to flee the Nazi regime would be to commit a dishonorable act of betrayal to his beloved German homeland. How could he turn his back on his country when it needed him most to speak out against the injustice? Rabbi Benny reminds us that spiritual healing requires giving up hating those who would destroy you because to return their hate is to destroy yourself; and that without the power to choose between good and evil, there is no freedom, and no possibility for spiritual transformation. Finally, the question of redemption. Is there a way to "make good again" the Holocaust? She offers two important suggestions. The first is to "own up to it" and incorporate it into the German educational system's curriculum, so that subsequent generations can benefit from "the healing power of remorse" and learn right from wrong. The second suggests there is no "antidote". "All one can do is hope to artfully and productively accommodate the heartache in the beauty of the present unfolding of life." This book fulfills that mission.

A moving, even haunting tale of resiliency

This is a poignantly written tale of one woman's gradual dawning awareness of the tragedy that befell her family; it's a tale of the holocaust, crafted by one too young to have understood its immensity at the time, but who had to try in the aftermath to understand why she and her mother stood alone with no near relatives. It's also a tale of outreach and forgiveness towards those she might have condemned. The result gives us a new understanding of those tragic events and of the nation that brought it about. The author's tale is as much one of hope and salvation as it is a tale of tragecy. I recommend it unqualifiedly.

A Necessary Testimony

Marianne Meyerhoff has written an affectingly-personal account that serves a greater purpose: to remind us, yet again, of the strength to love in the face of manifold evil. It is the story of a woman of indomitable spirit, Lotte, who, with the help of an extended family that includes the three other 'girls' of the book's title, salvages a collection of heirlooms--the severed bonds of a family history torn apart by Nazi Germany. Lotte finds a new home for herself and her child, the author, in the United States; the salvaged artifacts serve as a poignant testimony of loss and, above all, love. This is a book you will not soon forget.

Beyond Boundaries

This is a gorgeously written, heartfelt memoir that takes you on an emotional journey into the past. Marianne Meyerhoff pieces together a deeper understanding of herself and her family's tragic history as she meets the figures who were so important in her mother's life in Nazi Germany and beyond. And what she discovers as she gets to know these incredible people, is the beauty, hope, and love that persevered through these darkest times. It is the women who make up "The Four Girls from Berlin," and their legacy, that allowed the deep historical archive presented in this book to exist. Rich stories and photographs from a time without much documentation left, lend these pages personal character and importance - and make it an integral piece to unlocking the mystery of this incomprehensible time in history.

A Woman's search to Recapture Her Mother's Past

This is a beautifully written, poignant and heartwarming story poured from the heart of the author who searched into her mother's past life in Berlin; from her mother's best friends who let us gain insight into the mind of a lovely, sensitive, bright young woman who fled the holocaust. She kept much to herself, until a package was received opening up the wounds and memories of the past.
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