Monday, December 10, 2018

Advent, Advent! A Place They Called Home is Finally Out!

Event at the Leo Baeck Institute Today

Final Reminder. Today at 6.30 pm, our book A Place They Called Home will be introduced at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, at 15 W 16th St (near Union Square). Leo-Baeck-Director Bill Weitzer will be speaking, and also Yale historian David Sorkin and the editor of the book, Donna Swarthout. Donna, as well as a half dozen authors in the audience will be available for questions during and after the Q & A that follows the panel.

If you can't make the event, the book is now for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at independent book stores (and faster than the Amazon page implies). It can also be purchased as an ebook for all formats and readers. The retail price for the 208 pages hardcover is $19.95, respectively $9.99 for the ebook. The book has twelve pictures and also includes a background chapter on the citizenship law.

About the Book

"Donna Swarthout has collected personal stories reflecting a quite unexpected phenomenon: descendants from formerly persecuted German-Jewish families are reclaiming German citizen­ship. These men and women have moved forward from their tragic past though they carry the pain and grief of their parents and grandparents with them. They trace their roots back to the country of Goethe and Einstein, recapturing family legacies and discovering a new Germany. Will present-day Germany become ‘a place called home’ for these individuals too? The answer is left open."
–Julius H. Schoeps, chair of the Moses Mendelssohn Foundation

"Inspiring and gut-wrenching. These deeply personal accounts of a modern Jewish generation struggling to re-establish family roots in a new Germany while paying honor to their martyred forebears tell a timeless tale of human redemption—the homecoming."
–Ralph Blumenthal, journalist and author of  Miracle at Sing Sing

"Donna Swarthout’s book opens minds to a difficult history while tugging at your heartstrings.”
–Eugene DuBow, Founding director of the AJC Berlin

"This book offers the reader a compelling view of a better and hopefully more peaceful future between Germans and Jews."
–Sharon Adler, publisher at

"An important facet of the history of the special relationship of Jews to Germany."
–Lorenz S. Beckhardt, author of  Der Jude mit dem Hakenkreuz

Book Details:
Title:              A Place They Called Home
Subtitle:         Reclaiming Citizenship. Stories of a New Jewish Return to Germany
Editor:           Donna Swarthout
Publisher:      Berlinica Publishing LLC
Distributor     IPG / Small Press United
Format           Hardcover / Ebook
ISBN:             978-1-935902-65-2 

LCCN:           2018952729
Pages:            208 / with 12 bw pictures / 1 chart
Dimensions:   6’’x 9’’
Release:         December 10,  2018
Sugg. Retail:  $19.95 (HC) / $ 9.99 (ebook)


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Advent, Advent — This Day, We Think About Ernst Reuter, the Face of Berlin in the Cold War

Advent, Advent! On December 8 in 1948, Ernst Reuter became the first Mayor of West-Berlin, the man, who steered the city through the grip of the blockade, the airlift, and the beginnings of the Cold War. He became the face of Berlin and appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.

This is somewhat ironic since Reuter had started his political career as a Communist, joining the Bolsheviks after he was captured by the Russian army in WWI. When he returned to Berlin, he fought for the revolution of 1919. But after a fallout with Lenin, he was expelled from the party. He joined the Social Democrats and, in 1926, became commissioner in the City government. When the Nazis came to power, they rounded up all Communist and Social Democratic politicians. Reuter ended up in the concentration camp of Lichtenburg. After his release, he fled to Turkey, where he spent the war, teaching at the University of Ankara.

After World War II, he returned to Berlin, joined the city government again, and was elected Lord Mayor in 1947. The Soviets, however, did not accept him. The blockade finally split the city politically. Reuter became famous for his speech in front of the burned-out Reichstag on September 9, 1948, where he appealed to the world not to abandon Berlin, in front of a crowd of 300,000 people. Two months later, he was elected Mayor and remained on this post until his early death in 1953. His funeral was attended by more than a million people.

This picture of Ernst Reuter is from our book Berlin in the Cold War. The Battle for the Divided City, by Thomas Flemming.


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