The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between

Knopf. Apr. 2019. 368p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781524733193. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524733209. HIST
The history and fate of the Jews of small-town Kippenheim, Germany, under the Nazis is remarkably well documented. In this heartbreaking chronicle of the attempts by community members to find a safe haven, journalist Dobbs (One Minute to Midnight) expounds on the broader story of the world closing its borders to Jews in the 1930s. Kippenheim Jews were on the Kindertransport to Great Britain as well as the ill-fated voyage of the SS St. Louis to Cuba; others ended up in Casablanca, Vichy France, Palestine, and Auschwitz. They were among the hundreds of thousands who beseeched embassies for visas and stamps that would allow them to surmount the "paper walls" keeping them from safety. The survivors created an impressive trove of archival material to ensure loved ones would be remembered, and Dobbs effectively blends testimonials, letters, photographs, and research to individualize and honor Holocaust victims.
VERDICT This story of innocents caught up in a humanitarian catastrophe brought on by hatred foreshadows current immigration controversies. Readers with an interest in refugee affairs, the Holocaust, and Jewish and German history will especially appreciate.
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