Impossible Love: Ascher Levy's Longing for Germany

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This book is a grand epic in which Roman Frister reconstructs the real-life story of the Levy family to produce a unique portrait of a Jewish family swept along in the rise and fall of German history. We follow them through the hard times and the happier ones, in business and in their personal lives. As history is interwoven with Frister's interpretation of the Levy family's experiences, this intellectually engaging book—in truth a historical document—reads like an epic ...

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Overview

This book is a grand epic in which Roman Frister reconstructs the real-life story of the Levy family to produce a unique portrait of a Jewish family swept along in the rise and fall of German history. We follow them through the hard times and the happier ones, in business and in their personal lives. As history is interwoven with Frister's interpretation of the Levy family's experiences, this intellectually engaging book—in truth a historical document—reads like an epic novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A chance discovery of personal papers at a flea market led to this recreation of a complex and poignant family history. Supplementing those letters, bills and newspaper clippings with research and interviews, Frister, author of the searing Holocaust memoir The Cap, presents the Levy family-both patriotic Germans and observant Jews in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Pomeranian family fortunes began with the modest profits made selling potatoes to retreating Napoleonic soldiers and grew to include regional businesses and international investments, only to collapse under the Nazi regime. Frister allows the shadow of the Nazi era to fall across all of his narrative. He portrays the Levys as constantly in conversation about the restrictions on their business because of their religion. Discussions through the generations concerning Germany as a fatherland, Israel as spiritual home and Zionism as a secular and religious movement suggest the painful complexity of Jewish attitudes toward country and heritage. The Levys question the meaning of assimilation itself: while asserting their rights as German businessmen, serving in German wars and investing in German state projects, fathers pressured children to maintain Jewish traditions and siblings struggled over Reform and Orthodox principles. The cache of papers is the great strength and the occasional weakness of this chronicle: conversations based on letters and characters forced to stand for particular points of view result in rather wooden dialogue. But while the narrative never rises to the level of gripping epic, its themes resonate in the portrayal of an individual family responding to the all-too-familiar rise and fall of Jewish fortunes in Germany. B&w photos. (Feb. 15) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780297645917
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group, Limited
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 3.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations vi
Foreword 1
The Long Voyage 5
Dream and Reality 79
A Place in the Sun 140
The Narrow Rickety Bridge 189
The Writing on the Wall 232
The Last Painting 285
Epilogue: The Living and the Dead 344
Glossary 348
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