A highly readable account of one family’s fight for personal and financial vindication.

Stolen Legacy

NAZI THEFT AND THE QUEST FOR JUSTICE AT KRAUSENSTRASSE 17/18, BERLIN

Gold’s debut recounts her family members’ fight to reclaim a building that Nazis took from them during the Holocaust.

The place in question belonged to the Wolff family’s fur business until 1937, when it became property of the Nazi-controlled German government. After the end of World War II, the building became part of East Berlin and was claimed by the East German authorities. When the country later reunified, Gold and her family seized the opportunity to claim their property, which led to a yearslong legal process. The author blends the legal narrative—which deals with establishing the chain of ownership and determining who had inheritance rights—with a history of her secular Jewish family, which escaped to Palestine in 1933. The many family dramas keep the story from getting bogged down in complex legal terminology and include infidelities, lost wealth, and difficulties coming to terms with Jewish identities. Gold, a veteran investigative journalist, knows how to tell a compelling story, and she keeps the pages turning as she tells of the many scavenger hunts and fortuitous discoveries that led her from one clue to the next. One of the most compelling threads traces the fate of her great-uncle, who chose to stay in Germany and didn’t survive the war. Overall, this is an engaging, well-written depiction of how the Holocaust destroyed individual lives as well as families and community relationships. Although the story centers on a valuable piece of property, Gold’s measured, compassionate prose makes it clear that it’s not a tale of financial gain but one of justice and the survival of a persecuted people.

A highly readable account of one family’s fight for personal and financial vindication.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62722-970-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ankerwycke

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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