Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany?

Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany?

by J. Arthur Heise, Melanie Kuhr


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Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany? by J. Arthur Heise, Melanie Kuhr

Das Haus (The House) in East Berlin is the true story of two German families - one Jewish, the other not - whose paths first crossed in Nazi Germany and 70 years later again in the United States in the quest to have a house, which was located in the former East Germany, returned to its rightful owner. You will find out how the two heirs, who started out as antagonists in the 10-year struggle over the ownership of the house, ended up co-authors of this book. In fact, the turbulent history of 20th century Germany, from World War I through the Nazi era, the Soviet occupation of East Germany, the rise and fall of East Germany, all the way to the post-Cold War struggles to determine the rightful heirs to a property sold by a Jewish family to a member of the Nazi Party a half-century earlier, are all part of the story of Das Haus.

  • What was it like for a six-year old boy to live in the house through the battle for Berlin as the Third Reich collapsed under the murderous onslaught of the Soviet Army to end World War II in Europe?
  • How did the daughter of the Jewish owner of the house who had sold it to a German Nazi escape to England at the last minute and was also able to bring her young daughter to Britain?
  • What was the role of "junkyard dog" lawyer?
  • What was it like as the two families struggled -- unbeknown to each other -- to make their way to America and tried to rebuild their lives in the United States?
  • Once the Berlin Wall came down and German unification took place, what was the struggle like as the heirs of the two families separately tried to have Das Haus returned to them?
  • How did the German heir's diligent search for the Jewish heiress fare as he tried to work out a common approach to getting the house back?
  • What came as the biggest shock of the odyssey to the German heir as he found out what happened within two years after his parents had purchased Das Haus?
  • Was what the German Gentile heir saw as an interminable back-and-forth with the Jewish heiress actually her struggle with her Jewish culture? Did trying to get the the house back cause her to reexamine her Jewish heritage?
  • How did the German heir deal with the fact that his father had been a Nazi, albeit only a "nominal" Nazi party member according to his denazification proceedings? But was he the Nazi who kept threatening the Jewish owner of the house with burning it down unless he received monthly payoff?
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    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781481989268
    Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
    Publication date: 09/15/2013
    Pages: 252
    Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)

    About the Author

    Personal Note From the Authors: One of the authors, J. Arthur Heise, was the six-year old boy who witnessed the Battle for Berlin and went on to become a journalist, the retired founding dean emeritus of the nationally distinguished journalism school at Florida International University in Miami and the author of two non-fiction books. The other author, Melanie Kuhr, is the great granddaughter of the Jewish couple who sold the house to Heise's father. After a successful big-business career, she is now the CEO and part owner of a company in Texas.

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    Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany? 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
    AHack More than 1 year ago
    Das Haus tells the real world story of the reclaiming of a house by both the son of a nazi and the daughter of a jew who had lived in the house at different times during the Nazi reign in Germany. The book takes a unique approach to the topic, switching between Art, the son of a Nazi who had lived in Germany at the end of the war, and Melanie, The daughter of a jew who fled to England before it was too late. This interesting writing style allows the reader to experience the events from both perspectives. While the plot was not especially enthralling, mostly talking about the legal struggles of the two in reaching agreements and in confirming ownership of das Haus, the backstory of how each was connected to the house and how their lives had gone after the war were of great interest. Not only did they provide insight into the horrible conditions of Nazi Germany and East Germany, but they also told real American success stories. Stories of families coming from a foreign country and finding success and prosperity in America. Due to the writing style and general content, I do not believe that the book would make for a great movie, nor do I think that it is a great book for schools. This book I would only recommend for people who are fascinated by WWII and Nazi Germany.