· By Marc Lansley
Going Back To Their Homeland?
“Going Back” is a collection of autobiographical stories from German-Jewish refugees documented by Andrea von Treuenfeld, published by Clevo Books in Spring, 2018. The book tells the stories of 16 Jewish women who fled Nazi Germany and their decisions to return to live in their original homeland years later.
These women endured hardship when their lives were turned upside down during the war, relocating to countries around the world. Fleeing the life-threatening policies of the Nazi era, they escaped with hope of a better life. Some adapted easily to new languages and cultures, others had great difficulty in doing so. Yet each one eventually returned to Germany to live after the war.
A very different kind of diary, the book tells of the Jewish experience of the Holocaust with each chapter telling the story of a different woman. They share their childhood memories from an adult perspective and compare that with the lives they were forced to build in other countries. Inevitably, they compare the cultural differences between the country of their birth and the country to which they emigrated.
What sets these stories apart from other Holocaust survivor stories is that each one of these women returned to Germany to live. They share the experience of: being forced from their homeland; how their move to another country affected their cultural identities; and, how the act of repatriation affected them and their families.
“These stories need to be incorporated into the current dialog on the refugee and immigrant experience,” said Clevo Books publisher and book translator, Cathryn Siegal-Bergman. “These women showed great courage in surviving when their government turned against them. They demonstrate how to persevere hardships and start new lives in alien cultures with grace."
Clevo Books is an independent publisher located in Cleveland, Ohio, specializing in translated fiction and non-fiction. Siegal-Bergman acquired the North American rights to the book from Random House Germany where the book was originally published. She is a graduate of the Kent State University Translation Studies M.A. program and has translated several nonfiction books.