Day 20: 🇦🇹 I belong to Vienna: a Jewish Family’s Story of Exile and Return

In a Nutshell:

Part fiction, history, biography and memoir.

In 1942, Anna Goldenberg’s maternal great-grandparents and one of their sons are deported to the Thersienstadt concentration camp, a then German-occupied region of the Czech Republic. Goldenburg’s grandfather, Hansi avoids deportation and survives but he will never see his parents and brother again.

Using letters, archives and talking to her maternal grandmother, Helga and other members of her family, Goldenburg recontructs the family’s story. Like her grandparents, Goldenburg also spends some years living in the USA but she too returns to her native Vienna.

Themes:

Identity, belonging, courage, loss, exile, resilience, family.

Observations:

I didn’t know to what extent the Holocaust was felt in Vienna, until reading this book. Fascinating to read how a new generation (Goldenberg was born in 1989) comes to term with one of history’s darkest eras.

The family tree at the beginning of the book is a great resource.

Quotes:

“Why wasn’t there some high-tech way to beam me to the family dinner for a few hours, and then spit me back out onto the streets of Manhattan?”

“The term Lederhosene (lederhosen-wearers) was a synonym for the illegal Nazis of the 1930s.”

“Jews were banned from theaters, movies, and concert halls on November 12, 1938. Their exclusion from cultural life meant they were no longer part of a unified whole. At the opera, Hansi belonged again.”

Stockists: Want to read I Belong to Vienna: A Jewish Family’s Story of Exile and Return? Buy it here.

I belong to Vienna: a Jewish Family’s Story of Exile and Return

Written by Anna Goldenberg

Translated from the German by Alta L. Price

18/06/2020, New Vessel Press

ISBN: 9781939931849

#WITMonth for 2021 is curated by Jess Andoh-Thayre

I am 35, from London but currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have lived in Tanzania, Chile, Spain and now Cambodia. I am married to a diplomat and we have been posted in Dar es Salaam and now Cambodia. Prior to married life, I had also lived in La Serena, Chile and Madrid, Spain.

I am a French, Spanish and English teacher, translator, avid reader and now blogger. When I am not teaching, reading and blogging, I love seeing a brilliant sunset, swimming and hanging out with my husband and son.

Please follow me @jessandohthayre on Twitter and follow my book journey here.

Author: Anna Goldenberg

Anna Goldenberg, was born in 1989 in Vienna, studied psychology at the University of Cambridge and journalism at Columbia University. She worked at the Jewish newspaper The Forward in New York before returning to Vienna where she now contributes to various publications.

Translator: Alta L. Price

Alta L. Price is a translator and runs a publishing consultancy which specializes in literature and nonfiction texts on art, architecture, design, and culture. A recipient of the Gutekunst Prize, Price translates from Italian and German into English. She is a member of ALTA, PEN, the Third Coast Translators Collective, and Cedilla & Co.

One thought on “Day 20: 🇦🇹 I belong to Vienna: a Jewish Family’s Story of Exile and Return

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