A historically valuable and emotionally affecting collection of wartime letters.

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In this debut book, a writer compiles letters from two Jewish parents—desperately trying to flee the Nazis in Europe—to their daughter. 

Rosi Baczewski (nee Mosbacher) was born in Nuremberg, Germany, but left for England in 1939 as Nazi rule became increasingly intolerable for Jews, eventually making her way to the United States. Her parents—Hugo and Clemy Mosbacher—intended to reunite with her in New York after fleeing Germany for the Netherlands but were confronted with an entangled skein of bureaucratic challenges trying to secure the necessary documents. They never obtained a visa to enter the Netherlands but decided the deteriorating conditions in Germany made crossing the border illegally unavoidable. They were arrested in early 1940 in the Netherlands and spent two months in detention in Amsterdam, the first time they were separated since they married in 1911. They were released, but a few months later the Nazis invaded the country. Hugo and Clemy sent hundreds of letters to Rosi from 1940 to 1943, right up until they were seized by the Nazis in Amsterdam and ultimately sent to Auschwitz to die. Vasos, Baczewski’s daughter-in-law, assembled those letters in this moving collection, translated by various experts and coupled with a running historical commentary. The volume clearly chronicles not only the efforts of the Mosbachers to escape the Netherlands, but also the general plight of the Jews in Europe. Baczewski held onto those letters for 70 years before she gave them to the author. The correspondence covers a broad spectrum of issues, including the Mosbachers’ attempts to hack their way through a thicket of logistical issues that kept them stranded in the Netherlands and their heroic work to remain optimistic. The epistles are both historically edifying and profoundly moving—Hugo writes of the “immeasurable joy” he experienced each time he received a communication from his daughter. Still, both Hugo and Clemy were entirely aware of the precariousness of their situation and often expressed disconsolateness in response to their troubles. One letter ends with a sober aphorism: “What cannot be cured must be endured.” Vasos astutely situates the letters historically, ultimately producing a loving tribute to Hugo and Clemy as well as a treasure trove of historical insights and moral testimony.

A historically valuable and emotionally affecting collection of wartime letters. 

Pub Date: May 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997425-2-5

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Pen Stroke Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2019



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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