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Rosa's Child: The True Story of One Woman's Quest for a Lost Mother and a Vanished Past

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This remarkable, tragic story is ultimately an uplifting account of one woman's determined journey in search of her past and herself. In London in 1939, 3-year-old Susi Bechhöfer had just arrived in London on the Kindertransport evacuating Jewish children from Germany. Adopted by a childless Welsh minister and his wife, she and her twin sister were given a new identity to erase all traces of their previous existence. Only fifty years later do these women discover they're the daughters of Rosa Bechhöfer, a young ...

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Overview

This remarkable, tragic story is ultimately an uplifting account of one woman's determined journey in search of her past and herself. In London in 1939, 3-year-old Susi Bechhöfer had just arrived in London on the Kindertransport evacuating Jewish children from Germany. Adopted by a childless Welsh minister and his wife, she and her twin sister were given a new identity to erase all traces of their previous existence. Only fifty years later do these women discover they're the daughters of Rosa Bechhöfer, a young Jewish woman who perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and Otto Hald, a proud soldier in Hitler's army. The discovery of her real identity propels Susi on a painful and courageous quest in search of her past and the surviving members of her natural family. In the course of her search, she confronts dark secrets from her own past and urgently needs to reappraise her life. Now a practicing psychotherapist, the memory of Rosa, the mother she never knew, will always be with her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although this memoir, recounted somewhat awkwardly in the third person by author Josephs (Swastika Over Paris), has the Holocaust as its background, it is also a story of cruel sexual abuse perpetuated by a father on his adopted daughter. In 1939, through the efforts of their mother, an unwed German Jewish domestic worker, three-year-old twins Lotte and Susi Bechhofer were sent to Wales to live with Edward and Irene Mann, a childless Baptist minister and his wife. The adoptive parents gave the girls new names and attempted to erase their heritage. After years of suffering through a youth punctuated by her father's unwanted sexual attentions and her mother's pained awkwardness, Susi Bechhofer finally found refuge in a loving marriage. In the 1980s, with no assistance from the Manns, she began researching her background and, after several setbacks, discovered that her mother had died at Auschwitz and that her father had been a German soldier. Eventually she was able to make contact with both sides of her natural family. Bechhofer's story of lost family and lost innocence ends on a redemptive note but its impact on readers suffers both from its bifurcated nature and from stilted writing. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781860641220
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/20/1999
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Josephs lives in Paris and is the author of several books. Susi Bechhöfer now lives in England.

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Table of Contents

Author's Preface
Part I: In the Shadows
• Forbidden by Decree
• Grace and Eunice
• House Rules
• Obsessed
• Searching
Part II: Towards the Light
• Rosa
• Otto
• Cousins Galore
• Mortina
• Passport to Destruction
• Susi: A New Identity

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