Before Deportation

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1475-3

Cloth Text – $49.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-1474-6
Format Unavailable
Publication Date
June 1999
Page Count
86 pages
Trim Size
5 1/2 x 8 3/4

Before Deportation

Letters from a Mother to Her Daughters, January 1939-December 1942
Hertha Feiner

In 1939, Hertha Feiner sent her daughters Inge and Marion to Switzerland to escape the tightening Nazi vise in Berlin. Before Deportation compiles fifty-seven letters Feiner sent her to daughters between 1939 and 1942.

While Feiner was Jewish, her daughters' father, Johannes Asmus, was not, and was able to arrange for the daughters' transfer to a Swiss boarding school. Feiner's letters track her tireless efforts to maintain a bond with her children and to advise them as best she can under the circumstances. Her tone ranges from caring to authoritarian, from factual to sentimental, from hopeful to impatient and sometimes desperate. As her situation becomes increasingly dire, Feiner believes that to avoid her deportation, at least one of her daughters has to return to Berlin to live with her. Perhaps because of the intervention of Asmus and the girls' headmaster, Feiner's pleas go unanswered. A touching record of a mother's hope and despair, this memoir is both painful to read and impossible to put down.

About the Author

Hertha Feiner was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1896. She committed suicide in 1943 while being transported to Auschwitz.

Karl Heinz Jahnke is a professor of German history at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf.

Margot Bettauer Dembo has published seventeen translations and won the Goethe-Institut/Berlin Translator's Prize for 1994-95.