The book is entitled "The Road from Breslau: A Story of My Mother's Experiences in Germany, India, and New York." The genre is non-fiction. It tells the story of Marianne, a remarkable woman whose journey in life spanned three continents and who was eyewitness to some of the most important events of the 20th century. It is based upon her memoirs and her many writings, as well as family archives, and can be considered a case study of the larger German Jewish experience. The story is interwoven with historical facts, making it both a biography as well as a historical narrative.
Marianne was born in Breslau, Germany (now known as Wroclaw, part of Poland) in 1908, an only child, and grew up during World War I. She attended the University of Breslau, but while attending became a victim of the anti-Jewish racial laws passed by the Nazis during the 1930s. On November 9, 1938, on the eve of World War II, Marianne suffered a harrowing experience when she witnessed her husband being taken away to the concentration camp at Buchenwald during Kristallnacht. Incredibly, she managed to free him and, in January 1939, they managed to emigrate from Germany to Bombay, India on one of the last available passenger ships to leave Europe prior to the outbreak of World War II. Marianne was also able to secure a visa for her mother, thus saving three lives from certain deportation and death. In 1940, her first son was born.
In 1942, three years after arriving in India, Marianne became a widow after her husband died. Five years later, in 1947, she witnessed India gain its independence from Britain and experienced the riots that took place after Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated. In the same year, she married another German-Jewish refugee and had a second son in 1949. In 1953, after her mother passed away and India gained its independence, Marianne immigrated to New York via Ellis Island a year before it closed, where she began yet another new life, now for the third time. She had lived in India for 14 years.
The story of Marianne is one that was all too often characterized by adversity, but it is also a story of bravery, hope, perseverance, and inspiration. Despite the many hardships that she endured – and this was one of the many extraordinary things about Marianne – she was never bitter and constantly maintained a sense of humor, good cheer, and charming wit. She was strong and resilient, ever able to adapt to changing circumstances. Events and situations that would have overwhelmed most people had exactly the opposite effect upon Marianne.