Book discussion: „Exit Berlin: How One Woman Saved Her Family From Nazi Germany“

Just a week after the Kristallnacht terror in 1938, young Luzie Hatch, a German Jew, fled Berlin to resettle in New York. Her rescuer was an American-born cousin and industrialist, Arnold Hatch. Arnold spoke no German, so Luzie quickly became the translator, intermediary, and advocate for family left behind. Soon an unending stream of desperate requests from German relatives made their way to Arnold’s desk.

Luzie Hatch had faithfully preserved her letters both to and from far-flung relatives during the World War II era as well as copies of letters written on their behalf. This extraordinary collection, now housed at the American Jewish Committee Archives, serves as the framework for Exit Berlin. Charlotte R. Bonelli offers a vantage point rich with historical context from biographical information about the correspondents, to background on U.S. immigration laws, conditions at the Vichy internment camps, refuge in Shanghai, and many other topics; thus transforming the letters into a riveting narrative.

This book contributes significantly to historical understanding while also uncovering the dramatic story of a besieged family confronting unimaginable evil.

Charlotte R. Bonelli is the director of the Archives of the American Jewish Committee, where the Luzie Hatch letter collection is preserved.

Location and time:
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Edmond J. Safra Hall
36 Battery Place
New York, NY

Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.

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