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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Inge: A Girl's Journey through Nazi Europe

Inge: A Girl's Journey through Nazi Europe by Inge Joseph Bleier and David E. Gumpert (nephew) is a true life adventure story with made for TV movie potential. It concerns a Jewish teen who was able to get out of Germany on the eve of WWII, but wound up in an eventually not safe Red Cross run children's home in France. On some level, she was more "lucky" than others -- her father was able to leave Germany even though he earlier was arrested on trumped up charges and spent a few years in jail, and her older (by a couple years) sister emigrated to the United States. Her mother was left behind in Germany.

Inge's short account was rejected by publishers in the late 1950s, The Diary of Anne Frank -- a quite different experience in many ways -- seemed to be enough for that market. After Inge's sad death in the early 1980s, her adopted daughter found the manuscript and passed it along to Inge's nephew. Gumpert, a business reporter, used his journalistic skills and did some research ... meeting up many of the people in his aunt's story.

The result is this book, told in Inge's voice (quite well, many of the details put in by her nephew), and well worth a read by both serious teens and adults (I found it in the adult section of the library). It has a bit of everything: a taste of the usual troubling years of young adulthoood, especially for a serious young woman who would have difficulties even in the best of time. How life could be "normal" even in war years ... adventure and tragedy ... and the troubled life of survivors who wondered why they survived over others.

Germany to Belgium to France to Switzerland to New York City to Chicago ... refugee teen to nurse/head of Weiss Memorial Hospital. It's good a publisher saw fit to let the rest of us have a chance to know about this story.