Remember Who You Used to Be by Peter Thornthwaite

Remember Who You Used to Be by Peter Thornthwaite

A woman’s diaries from age 16, before her last minute escape from Hitler’s Germany, until she died in Oxford, England aged 50 – and the letters her big brother sent over those years from his refuge first in Ecuador then Pittsburgh USA. Together they build a vivid picture of two ordinary people touched by momentous events while agonising over boyfriends, girlfriends, the promiscuous habits of American girls, music, marriage, and jumble sales. Gerda’s diaries and Gunther’s letters tell their story (the bits they want to tell each other, the unconscious revelations) unaware of being one day read by strangers: a hard decision for the author (Gerda’s son) but vindicated by this fascinating memoir through which the thread of diaspora and horror is a rarely spoken yet constant undertone in the rich emerging picture of the personalities, quirks, everyday concerns and poignant deaths of these forever separated siblings. This unusual first-hand account that puts ordinary people into history in their own words is also the story of a woman whose hopes, dreams and fears will touch your heart.

Year first published: 2023

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