A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN
The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman’s Harrowing Escape from the Nazis
By: Francoise Frenkel
Published: December 3, 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
This memoir was discovered at a flea market in Nice, France. Any story of those who went through the war are important, especially those stories of Jews trying to escape. Frenkel shared her life growing up in Poland and eventually opening a bookshop in Berlin. Her bookshop in Berlin sold French books and materials and was widely successful. Then the war came. Limits were put on what she could sell, when she could work, and eventually, books were removed from her shop. Since she was Jewish, she had to find ways to escape to safer areas in France.
In 1938, Kristallnacht occurred and many Jewish businesses were destroyed. Frenkel managed to escape to Paris, but eventually, Paris is bombed and she has to escape again. Surprisingly, Frenkel was never sent to a concentration camp thanks to moments of luck, the generosity of friends and strangers, and her pure will to survive.
Her story was published after the war, but when it was found again, many felt like her story needed to be heard. It’s a quick read and chronicles her joy of reading and her numerous friendships. Once the war begins, she believes she won’t be harmed and that she can get by on her connections and relationships, which she does. It’s amazing that she fared as well as she did and her story is another look at those who experienced the war and how hard it was to trust anyone.
Actual scanned documents belonging to Frenkel from her arrests, trial papers, her trunk items, and other documents are also included at the end of the book which are interesting to see and read.
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That sounds like a powerful memoir!