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Too Deep Were Our Roots
Born just before World War I, Sonia's earliest memories of her childhood in Vienna revolve around her family's house looking out over the peaceful Vienna Woods. She also recalls a post-war time of rampant inflation and unemployment. Long an intellectual and cultural capital, the city was also a place where the well-established Jewish community prospered.
But as the European political situation darkened during the 1920s and 1930s, life for the assimilated Jews in Vienna began to change. Propelled by the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, and later by the Nuremberg laws, Sonia's family and friends face increasing discrimination. Her travels to England, Italy, and Palestine—where there is little mention of the "Jewish problem"—underscore the dangers of ingrained anti-Semitism. When Austria is occupied by the German army in 1938, Sonia faces the tough choice of deciding whether to stay or leave—before it is too late to do so.
This riveting first-person account includes the stories of Bernhard Wachstein, Sonia's father, a prominent Jewish scholar; her brother Max, a doctor who is sent to Dachau; her Uncle Sigmund, a friend of Freud; and many other friends and family members. And woven throughout are the themes of roots and identity, and the stark question: "what is to be done when homeland is no longer home?"
About the author: Sonia Wachstein was born in Vienna in 1909. She received her Ph.D. in English and German literature from the University of Vienna in 1932. In 1938 she escaped to England where she taught English for the Jewish Refugee Committee. In 1943 she emigrated to the U.S. where she taught German at Vassar and Brooklyn Colleges, earned an M.A. in social work from Bryn Mawr, then settled in Manhattan where she enjoyed a long career as teacher, scholar, therapist, and writer. She died in August 2001, just as this book was going to press.
To learn more about Sonia Wachstein, please visit UNET.net/Wachstein/
|Too Deep Were Our Roots
Harbor Electronic Publishing
Paper: ISBN 0-9707039-2-9
216 pp. 70 halftones $19.95
eBook ISBN 0-9707039-1-0
281 pp. 70 sepia illustrations $9.95