Abandoned in Berlin invites the reader to decide if anti-Semitism in Germany ended after the war or was simply concealed by a new set of West German laws. The story uncovers the history of a prestigious block of Jewish-owned apartments in West Berlin, expropriated under National Socialism at the end of March 1936. The leading characters are a widow and her two teenage daughters, with the story narrated in the third person by Hilda, the only child of the youngest daughter, who currently lives in Novato, northern California. Uncovering the family history begins during June 2016 when Hilda visits Berlin to discover the home where her mother lived as a child and teenager. Through diligent research and the help of people and organizations in Berlin, Britain, the United States, and Israel, a story of persecution, discrimination, courage, and survival emerge.
Important events are exposed that begin in December 1929 when the father of the family dies suddenly of natural causes and leaves his wife to bring up the two adolescent daughters and manage the apartment business in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district of Berlin. The youngest girl legally inherits a share of the property, but because she is under age-21 and has no father, she is placed under the “care” of a Nazi Guardianship Court during late 1933. As a consequence, the Court controls all financial matters affecting the property. Slowly its requirements squeeze Hilda’s family out of their home and rental business, and then out of Germany. Not until during the early 1950s can the survivors pursue restitution under newly-created West German jurisprudence. What happens at this time is described in Abandoned in Berlin.
About the Author
The author was born in England and has lived permanently in California since 1990. He spent nearly fifty years in Human Resources with organizations such as Ford Motor Company, Bank of America, and Stanford University and the University of California system’s office, and took up writing five years ago. He has already published the historical fiction “An Unplanned Encounter” under a pseudonym and will publish literary fiction “Bonfire Nights” at the end of 2018. This latter story is about growing up in Britain during the 1960s and ’70s and combines romance with business and a passion for bird watching. The novella “Abandoned in Berlin” came about as a result of a trip to Berlin in June 2016 with his friend Hilda. His writing is entertaining, rich with feelings, historically accurate, and honest. He writes to educate and inspire. More author details can be found on his website at johnrcammidge.com.