Alex's Wake: The Tragic Voyage of the St. Louis to Flee Nazi Germany--and a Grandson's Journey of Love and Remembrance

Alex's Wake: The Tragic Voyage of the St. Louis to Flee Nazi Germany--and a Grandson's Journey of Love and Remembrance

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by Martin Goldsmith
     
 

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A tale of the ill-fated voyage of the St. Louis to Auschwitz and a grandson's memorial seventy years later.See more details below

Overview

A tale of the ill-fated voyage of the St. Louis to Auschwitz and a grandson's memorial seventy years later.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Beautiful and brave…a chilling yet affirming account of human loss and recovery.”—David Maraniss, author of They Marched into Sunlight

“The opposite of love, Elie Wiesel has observed, is not hate but indifference. With Alex’s Wake, the author proves himself the least indifferent and, because of that, the most loving of men.”
—Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball

"There are six million Holocaust stories. All of them are the same in sadness and devastation. Each is different in circumstance and fear. Martin Goldsmith eloquently tells the story of his search for family in the rubble of memory and distance. It's a moving journey of finding the past and his own determined and compassionate present."—Susan Stamberg, NPR

"A new perspective on the Holocaust...powerful and evocative"—New York Journal of Books

“Underscores the immense moral challenges and failings of a nation that believes itself the leader of the free world…. A heartbreaking story of fear, frustration, anti-Semitism, and betrayal.”—Baltimore Sun

“A child of persecuted German Jews remembers his tormented, perished forebears—and makes peace with the country that hounded them to death…A well-researched, thorough reckoning of this shameful past.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Goldsmith ably personalizes the Holocaust, traveling the Auschwitz-bound arc of his grandfather and uncle, chillingly vivifying the collective camps’ otherwise monolithic millions.”—Providence Journal

"Profoundly moving"—Johns Hopkins Magazine

Blogcritics.org, 4/26/15
“[A] heartbreaking account…A harrowing tale…A book with a lesson for today.”

New York Daily News, 4/15/15
“With painstaking detail and a historical biography, Goldsmith digs deep into his own history and the psyche of Eastern European Jewry.”

BookTrib.com, 4/15/15
“[An] intensely personal story.”

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-13
A child of persecuted German Jews remembers his tormented, perished forebears—and makes peace with the country that hounded them to death. Building on his previous memoir, The Inextinguishable Symphony (2000), which told the story of his musician parents' meeting while members of the all-Jewish Kulturbund in Nazi Germany, classical music host Goldsmith delves into the archives and memory to uncover the plight of his grandfather Alex Goldschmidt and uncle Klaus Helmut, who were refugees aboard the ill-fated St. Louis bound for Cuba in May 1939. Rejected by Cuba, however, and in turn by the United States and Canada, the ocean liner, which contained more than 900 Jewish refugees, was doomed to return to Nazi Germany if not for the humanitarian intersession of Morris Troper, who managed to find succor for the passengers by dividing them among Belgium, Holland, England and France. Alex and his younger son were sent to France, soon to be occupied, and passed from camp to camp, finally hauled off to Auschwitz, where they perished in 1942. Hauntingly, Alex sent increasingly frantic messages to his older son, who had found refuge in the United States, and concluded, "If you don't move heaven and earth to help us, that's up to you, it will be on your conscience." That dire warning opened up an understanding to the silence around their past enforced by the author's parents as he was growing up. Taking clues from cities jotted down on the victims' passports, the author and his wife resolved to return to Germany and France, tracking Alex's progress from his family roots in Lower Saxony; to his move to Oldenburg, where he set up a prosperous clothing store with his wife and children; to his final despairing trajectory across Europe. In their emotionally wrenching trek, Goldsmith managed to achieve some sense of closure when the current owners of Alex's grand house unveiled a commemorative plaque. A well-researched, thorough reckoning of this shameful past.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306823237
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
233,329
File size:
4 MB

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