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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 04/2014
  • 9780982890837
  • 324 pages
  • $12.95
Naomi M Rosenthal
Author, Illustrator
Searching for Hugo

Adult; History & Military; (Market)

One night in the early months of World War I, a Jewish German soldier didn’t make it back to the trenches and was assumed to have been captured by the Russians. Hugo’s worried family and friends tried in vain to determine his whereabouts. They wrote hundreds of letters attempting to secure his release through a prisoner exchange program, and even sent a Russian acquaintance to buy the POW’s freedom. All they got in return were good intentions, misinformation, and frustrating delays. It was only the war’s progression and a strange coincidence that finally allowed the mystery of the missing soldier to be solved. This tale unfolds through letters. Their images, German transcriptions, and English translations open a window into the world of 1914-1915 Germany, showing how people dealt with a horrific war as it encroached onto their lives. One recently-found document, hidden for almost a century, shatters previous assumptions based on a cover-up. Now, the real story of what happened to my grandfather, Hugo Rosenthal, is revealed.
Reviews
Kirkus Review

“Letters and other documents from the author’s family history tell the story of the search for her grandfather, gone missing in a World War I battle.

In Lina’s Love: Postcards and Poems from Hugo (2014), Rosenthal published hundreds of postcards and handwritten poems exchanged between her German grandparents Hugo and Lina before their marriage. In this new book, Rosenthal presents her recent find—a shopping bag full of letters, postcards, telegrams and other documents, most dated 1914 or 1915, nearly all related to learning the fate of Hugo after his injury in a 1914 battle. Rosenthal again provides English translations with German transcriptions and reproductions of the originals. The correspondence is addressed to or from military offices, the Red Cross, consulates, etc., across the Eurasian continent: from Madrid in the west to Ussuriysk in far eastern Russia; from Stockholm to Tashkent. The struggle to extract even a scrap of information from the fog of war is long and hard-fought, taking on the suspense of a mystery, with resolution withheld until the end. As Rosenthal notes in some thoughtful comments, one theme that reveals itself is Lina’s poor treatment by her family. She’s constantly being scolded for worrying (even as she diligently seeks out information) and blamed for illness: “Seek to uplift yourself, my child, all physical pain is the product of your mental suffering,” writes her mother. Lina, like Rosenthal herself, “clashed with her patriarchal relatives.” Historians will find much to interest them in this cache of primary sources, such as how quickly initial homefront optimism about the war’s course turns into accounts of privation, shortages and sad sights of young men with missing limbs. ... 

A moving and very well-documented account of a woman’s search for her missing husband.” 

Kirkus Reviews

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 04/2014
  • 9780982890837
  • 324 pages
  • $12.95

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