Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival

by Daniel Finkelstein

£10.99

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    Non Fiction

    Paperback

    9780008483890

    Published by HarperCollins

    Published June 2024

    From longstanding political columnist and commentator Daniel Finkelstein, a powerful memoir exploring both his mother and his father’s devastating experiences of persecution, resistance and survival during the Second World War. Daniel’s mother Mirjam Wiener was the youngest of three daughters born in Germany to Alfred and Margarete Wiener. Alfred, a decorated hero from the Great War, is now widely acknowledged to have been the first person to recognise the existential danger Hitler posed to the Jews and began, in 1933, to catalogue in detail Nazi crimes.

    After moving his family to Amsterdam, he relocated his library to London and was preparing to bring over his wife and children when Germany invaded the Netherlands. Before long, the family was rounded up, robbed and sent to starve in Bergen-Belsen. Daniel’s father Ludwik was born in Lwow, the only child of a prosperous Jewish family.

    In 1939, after Hitler and Stalin carved up Poland, Ludwik’s father was arrested and sentenced to hard labour in the Gulag. Meanwhile, deported to Siberia and working as a slave labourer on a collective farm, Ludwik survived the freezing winters in a tiny house he built from cow dung. Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad is a deeply moving, personal and at times horrifying memoir about Finkelstein’s parents’ experiences at the hands of the two genocidal dictators of the twentieth century.

    It is a story of persecution; survival; and the consequences of totalitarianism told with the almost unimaginable bravery of two ordinary families shining through.

    ‘Danny Finkelstein has written an elegant, moving account of the history of one family, and in doing so shines light on the history of the 20th century. If you want to understand Hitler and Stalin, read this book about people whose lives were upended by both of them’ ANNE APPLEBAUM, author of Gulag: A History, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

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