A significant addition to the literature on the Holocaust.

THE LOST CAFÉ SCHINDLER

ONE FAMILY, TWO WARS, AND THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH

A powerful account of the divergent fortunes of a prominent Austrian Jewish family.

In her impressively researched debut, attorney Schindler offers a sprawling, haunted narrative about a personal quest that was sparked by the passing of her father, long embittered by an “addiction to litigation in pursuit of what, he felt, he and the family were still owed because of the disruptions of war.” In the 19th century, the Schindlers, Tyrolean Jews, found success as distillers while riding out waves of antisemitism. Their civic-mindedness was epitomized by the author’s great uncle, who served in the Austro-Hungarian military during World War I. In the 1920s, the family opened a cafe that became central to the cultural life of Innsbruck. Things changed drastically in the 1930s, culminating in a vicious attack on Schindler’s grandfather during Kristallnacht in 1938 (which she discovered her father only pretended to have witnessed). After this, most family members fled to England or elsewhere, though several were murdered during the Holocaust. A local Nazi official took over the family villa, and the cafe was turned into “the most important Nazi watering hole in town.” Beyond the compelling personal details, the author chillingly documents how the livelihoods of Austrian Jews were destroyed, “systematically stripped of their assets, at bargain-basement prices.” Schindler brings the faded figures of her forebears to life via extensive archival research, but by returning to her misanthropic father’s presence, she also unearths fascinating digressions. His most outlandish claims proved accurate—e.g., regarding one uncle who received unlikely protection after providing medical care to a teenage Hitler’s mother. “Nothing accords with the father I knew—except for the troubling absence of truth,” writes the author. “But then again, these were such times of dislocation for millions, and of trading old identities for new ones in the post-war world.” Throughout, Schindler writes vividly about representation, memory, and the aftermath of atrocity.

A significant addition to the literature on the Holocaust.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-393-88162-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A cogent overview of the court’s crucial role, the application of which is sure to be discussed among scholars.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURT AND THE PERIL OF POLITICS

Why the Supreme Court deserves the public’s trust.

Based on his 2021 lecture at Harvard Law School, Supreme Court Justice Breyer offers a selected history of court cases, a defense of judicial impartiality, and recommendations for promoting the public’s respect for and acceptance of the role of the judiciary in the future. The author regrets that many Americans see the justices as “unelected political officials or ‘junior varsity’ politicians themselves, rather than jurists,” asserting that “nearly all” justices apply “the basic same interpretive tools” to decide a case: “They will consider the statute’s text, its history, relevant legal tradition, precedents, the statute’s purposes (or the values that underlie it), and the relevant consequences.” Although Breyer maintains that all try to avoid the influence of ideology or political philosophy, he acknowledges that suggesting “a total and clean divorce between the Court and politics is not quite right either,” since a justice’s background, education, and experiences surely affect their views, especially when considering the consequences of a decision. The judicial process, Breyer explains, begins as a conference held once or twice each week where substantive discussion leads to preliminary conclusions. Sometimes, in order to find a majority, the court will take a minimalist perspective, allowing those who differ “on the broader legal questions to come together in answering narrower ones.” Noting that, in 2016, only 1 in 4 Americans could name the three branches of federal government, Breyer suggests a revival of civics education in schools so that students can learn how government works and what the rule of law is. He believes that confidence in government will result from citizens’ participation in public life: by voting, taking part in local governance such as school boards, and resolving their differences through argument, debate, cooperation, and compromise, all of which are “the embodiment of the democratic ideal.”

A cogent overview of the court’s crucial role, the application of which is sure to be discussed among scholars.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-674-26936-1

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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