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Deutsche Ausgabe: Deutsche auf der Flucht, ein Briefwechsel zwischen Deutschland und Amerika von 1938 bis 1939, Lukas Verlag, Berlin, 2018.
Johannes Höber left Nazi Germany for America on November 12, 1938. His wife Elfriede and their nine year old daughter Susanne were unable to leave until September of the following year, after the outbreak of World War II. Fifty years later, Johannes and Elfriede’s son found an old folder containing the long letters they exchanged during the many months they were separated. In these letters, Elfriede describes the worsening situation in Germany and Johannes describes his flight from Europe and his excited entry into American life. Against Time: Letters from Nazi Germany, 1938-1939, collects 135 of those letters with an introduction, extensive notes and an epilogue that sets the letters in the context of their time. The letters tell the story of a couple driven from their home by the Nazis and forced to make a new life in a new country. In these letters you will discover two fine, passionate and very different writers. Johannes’ letters are carefully organized and precise, self-conscious and at the same time full of colorful detail and rich accounts of people, places and events that convey his deep interest in the new world he observed. Elfriede’s letters sometimes seem slightly chaotic, but they convey a full sense of her strong feelings as she navigated daily life in a frighteningly transformed Germany. Her letters are often laced with a breezy wit, though the humor is often ironic and sometimes witheringly sarcastic. Together, the letters portray the intense relationship of a fascinating couple in a critical time.
Against Time: Letters from Nazi Germany, 1938-1939 is an important historical document that reads like a novel.
I listened to Mr. Hoeber, today, tell the story behind his parents’ letters and read excerpts from the letters. I was captivated.
Thank you so much. It is always a pleasure to speak to an interested audience like today’s.