Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival
‘Epic, moving and important’ Robert Harris
From longstanding political columnist and commentator Daniel Finkelstein, a powerful memoir exploring both his mother and his father’s devastating experiences of persecution, resistance and survival during the Second World War.
Daniel’s mother Mirjam Wiener was the youngest of three daughters born in Germany to Alfred and Margarete Wiener. Alfred, a decorated hero from the Great War, is now widely acknowledged to have been the first person to recognise the existential danger Hitler posed to the Jews and began, in 1933, to catalogue in detail Nazi crimes. After moving his family to Amsterdam, he relocated his library to London and was preparing to bring over his wife and children when Germany invaded Holland. Before long, the family was rounded up, robbed, humiliated, and sent to Bergen-Belsen.
Daniel’s father Ludwik was born in Lwow, the only child of a prosperous Jewish family. In 1939, after Hitler and Stalin carved up Poland, the family was rounded up by the communists and sent to do hard labour in a Siberian gulag. Working as slave labourers on a collective farm, his father survived the freezing winters in a tiny house they built from cow dung.
Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad is a deeply moving, personal and at times horrifying memoir about his parents’ experiences at the hands of the two genocidal dictators of the 20th century. It is a story of persecution and survival; and the consequences of totalitarianism told with the almost unimaginable bravery of two ordinary families shining through.