The Holocaust and its aftermath were not often discussed in families of second-generation survivors. In Tel Aviv of the 1960s, Emanuel Rosen grew up hearing the staccato of his mother’s typewriter, but had no idea about the battle she was fighting. This changed years later, when he found a box with letters that his grandparents had sent from a tragic 1956-trip to Germany and he decided to retrace their journey.
This book braids the stories of three generations—grandparents, daughter, and grandson. The grandparents, the lawyer Dr. Hugo Mendel and his wife Lucie, who were respected German citizens until the Nazis took away their livelihood and their dignity. Their daughter, Mirjam, who had fought for years to prove that those who forced her father out of his profession were responsible for his death. And their grandson, Emanuel, who discovered a shocking truth.
This true story demonstrates the devastating consequences
of Nazi persecution, even for survivors who fled Europe before WWII and did not experience the horrors of the Holocaust. It is also a stark reminder of the heavy psychological toll of uprooting, still experienced by refugees and exiles today. Written in a personal style brimming with love and wit, If Anyone Calls, Tell Them I Died is a story of loss, strength,
“This is a gripping and engaging exploration of a family whose lives were indelibly changed by Nazi restrictions, by immigrant life in Israel, and by a grandson’s search for missing parts of the stories.”
Martha Minow: Harvard Law School
“With sensitivity, love, and humor, Emanuel Rosen tells the story of his Yekke grandparents, their immigration and difficulties in the homeland of the Jewish people, and their journey in search of their roots and identity in Germany. An important and fascinating book that awakened in me deep feelings and a longing for a generation that is no more.”
Gabriela Shalev, former Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N.; Professor (Emeritus) the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“I thought I’d take a quick look at this book, but then I kept reading all of it in a day and a half.”
W. Michael Blumenthal: Former Secretary of the Treasury and director of the Jewish Museum Berlin (1997-2014)
“From generation to generation, it becomes more difficult to write about the persecution of Jews before and during WWII as one’s personal past. Too much has been lost, and precisely because of that one wants to write about what can still be found. I respect what Emanuel Rosen did in this book, patiently and carefully exploring the past and guiding us through his findings about the story of his family.”
Bernhard Schlink: Author of “The Reader”
“The mystery of why Emanuel Rosen’s grandfather killed himself haunts this book and keeps the reader gripped until the secrets of the past are ultimately uncovered and revealed. Suicide leaves a legacy of silence for those of us who are left behind and works such as this allows us to begin to understand how we are affected and start to heal. This book will greatly help survivors of suicide loss on their own personal journeys of discovery and hope.”
Carla Fine, Author of “No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One”
The box of letters that started it all...
Letter to Dr. Hugo Mendel from the Higher Regional Court informing him that he can no longer appear in court because he does not belong to the Aryan race. May 22, 1933