Michael Dobbs with David Kipen: The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and the Village Caught in Between
Michael Dobbs' masterful new book, The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between, reads like a novel about one of our darker, more complex hours in history. The breadth of Jewish refugee experience during World War II is enormous. Michael Dobbs, however, concentrates on a few families who lived in one village in southern Germany before their deportation, and their desperate efforts to obtain visas to America. Their stories are deeply personal and vivid, and their experiences, documented in many cases by photographs, connect with the reader with great impact and immediacy.
In 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt leads an isolationist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic America. Dobbs questions about Americas role in the Jewish refugee crisis, about our indifference, are harrowing. What is new, what is different, is the magnifying glass applied to a small group of individuals from one town. He uses diaries, letters, records and interviews to recreate and amplify the experience of Jews living in an increasingly hostile and terrifying environment. He tracks these families as they face bureaucrats who hold the key to life or death for thousands upon thousands of Jews.
In conversation with David Kipen. David is the former book critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, and former director of the Big Read project for the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an editor and author, most recently of the acclaimed book, Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters 1542 to 2018.
Published by Knopf in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The book is part of a groundbreaking educational exhibit at the Museum that includes a new exhibition, Americans and the Holocaust, on display in Washington, D.C. https://exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans-and-the-holocaust/main
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