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Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust [Paperback]

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Item description for Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust by Toby Sonneman...

On the morning after Kristallnacht, Toby Sonneman's father walked through broken glass to apply for the visa that saved him from the fate of so many during the Third Reich. In examining her own family history, the author discovered the similarities between the fate of the Jews and the Gypsies in the Holocaust, both peoples selected on racial grounds for extermination by the Nazis.

She traveled with an American Gypsy survivor to Munich, where she stayed with the formidable Rosa Mettbach. This is the story of Rosa and other members of an extended family who survived the Holocaust. Shared Sorrows tells the story of a Gypsy family against the backdrop of a Jewish one, detailing and examining their shared sufferings under the Nazis.

My father brought a spool of thread with him from Germany when he came to America in 1939. And another spool of thread, one in my imagination, unwinds slowly and unpredictably, sometimes fraying or tangling. It's a thin and delicate thread that leads me to the Gypsies, to the family that I meet in Germany, the country of so many tangled memories and emotions. And as I talk to them and I listen, following the threads of their stories backwards in time to the 1930s and 40s and before, their memories start to become mine as well.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   296
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.68" Width: 6" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.98 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2002
Publisher   University Of Hertfordshire Press
ISBN  1902806107  
ISBN13  9781902806105  

Availability  0 units.

More About Toby Sonneman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Toby Sonneman is the author of "Fruit Fields in My Blood: Okie Migrants in the West" and "Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust". She is a native of Chicago and currently teaches journalism in the Pacific Northwest, with frequent travels to the lemon growing areas of California and Italy.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > Holocaust
2Books > Subjects > History > Jewish > Holocaust
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General
4Books > Subjects > History > World > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Cultural

Reviews - What do customers think about Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust?

The courage of conscience  Nov 19, 2002
Shared Sorrows is a breath-taking, exquisite book. Sonneman's quest begins as a personal one, revealing her courage in asking what happened to the Gypsies in the Holocaust, as she had earlier understood her own Jewish family's fate. I was awed by her conscience and courage in listening and recording the heart-rending replies. The truthful, brutal answers left tear stains on more than one page as I read. But Sonneman's reporter's voice and writer's heart were precisely what allowed me to face all that she heard. She brings her readers into a universe of unspeakable memories because we must all remember. And she shows us that we must honor these memories because the universe is still capable of love and luck and -- always -- conscience. It is a powerful and important book no reader will soon forget.
Finding Meaning in Memories  Nov 14, 2002
Shared Sorrows weaves the history of the Nazi persecution of Gypsies into a families' personal narratives, recounted in a manner as gripping as any novel. Rosa Mettbach, the main character, tells a story of nearly-unspeakable injustice and personal courage. She escapes from the Nazis four times, each time punished more harshly yet surviving several concentration camps. Sonneman evokes shockingly rich memories of the sounds of the camps, the smells of burning flesh, the ash constantly in the air, of awakening each morning with lice swarming about one's head.

What makes this book more than a horror story is its humanism. Rosa the heroine is also a chain-smoking grandmother who indulges in her own prejudices. The author decribes in mouth-watering detail the pastries she and Rosa eat while awaiting the right time for an interview. Sonneman examines the complexity of her own reaction upon visiting places her Jewish family was forced to leave and meeting Germans who stayed. The people living in the town of Dachau must have heard and smelled something of what was going on in the concentration camp at the edge of town. Were they complicit or just paralyzed with fear? One is left pondering not just a remarkable oral history, but human nature itself.


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