Author(s): Juliet Rieden
In 1938, as Hitler's troops are marching on Prague, a Jewish couple makes a heartbreaking decision that will save their eight-year-old son's life but destroy their family. Australian journalist Juliet Rieden grew up in England in the 1960s and 70s wondering why she had so few relatives, why her family never practised the Jewish faith, why a visit from her Czechoslovakian grandmother fuelled an emotional firestorm - and why her father's last words before he died were about a plane trip he took as a very young child. In her quest to answer these questions she uncovers a Holocaust tragedy of epic proportions. She finds her family name repeated many times over on the wall of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, a famous Holocaust memorial. She traces the grim fate of cousins and aunts and uncles through the archives of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. She learns about the extremes of cruelty, courage and kindness, and comes to understand at an intimate level why it is so crucial to remember when sometimes all we want to do is forget. Meticulously researched and beautifully told, this is a real-life story of a woman's quest to make sense of her father and his determination to craft a life of connection and purpose from a childhood marred by unimaginable loss.