HOME IS THE PLACE by Stefanie Lauer
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Another ironic proof that the people Hitler destroyed be eventually helped to immortalize for here a Jewish family of Berlin in the 1930's comes warmly, vividly alive through the children, through the adults and through the darkening of their lives under Nazism. Beautiful Tania, the illegitimate daughter of romantic Aunt Judith, her adoring companion and cousin, Ruth, who is the narrator of the story, Ruth's demonic brother Robert and myopic sister Ursula, wear out an army of governesses of all nationalities; develop many childish games and expressions, and gradually gain an awareness of the world about them. Their exuberance contrasts with the underlying thread of tragedy for Papa, well aware of Hitler's mounting power, attempts to obtain American visas for his family. His efforts are in vain and Tani, now 18, refuses a ""passport marriage"" from an American music student with whom she has had an affair. The synagague is burned; the Gestapo takes Papa and months later they hear of his death; Robert and Ursula are the first to escape to England and Ruth follows -- leaving Mama and Tania in Berlin. The intensely funny episodes created by the children -- and Ruth's telling -- give way to the grim fate imposed upon them and make way for some laughable, lovable and pitiable human beings. A personal enthusiasm for this should help it along.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1957
Publisher: Knopf