Inherit the Truth 1939-1945: The Documented Experiences of a Survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen

Inherit the Truth 1939-1945: The Documented Experiences of a Survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen


By (author) Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Preface by Martin Gilbert

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  • Publisher: Giles De La Mare Publishers
  • Format: Paperback | 184 pages
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 230mm x 18mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 15 April 1996
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1900357011
  • ISBN 13: 9781900357012
  • Illustrations note: 42 b&w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 207,013

Product description

This autobiography relates the author's experiences, as well as those of her sister Renate, as a prisoner at both Auschwitz and Belsen. It tells how their lives were saved by courage, ingenuity, and several improbable strokes of luck. At Auschwitz, Anita escaped death through her talents as a cellist when she was co-opted onto the camp orchestra. The book contains a number of documents, most of them now lodged in the archives of the Imperial War Museum in London. There is a sequence of letters to her sister Marianne in England, from just before the War to 1942, when her parents were deported and liquidated. The predicament of Anita and Renate inside the concentration camps is conveyed, and the text shows how the sisters' capture while fleeing to Paris turned out to be a stroke of "luck" - they were sent to prison and thus spared the much worse horrors of Auschwitz for a crucial year in the middle of the War. This text featured in BBC Radio 4's "Desert Island Discs" programme on August 25, 1996, and in addition a BBC TV film was screened in October 1996.

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Author information

Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was brought up in Breslau, in Silesia, the daughter of a distinguished lawyer, Alfons Lasker, whose brother Edward became an American chess champion. At the age of thirteen she studied the cello with Leo Rostal in Berlin, until the 1938 Kristallnacht forced her to return home. After surviving the war, she managed to emigrate to England in 1946; and in 1949 she became a founder member of the English Chamber Orchestra, with which she still plays. She married Peter Wallfisch, the pianist, and has two children, Maya and Rafael, who is also a celebrated cellist.

Review quote

'It is my read most of the current literature on the Holocaust, and if someone had the time and inclination to read only one book published recently, I would...choose without hesitation a small book [Inherit the Truth] which appeared last month in is precisely as a historian that I recommend this account...' Walter Laqueur, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington

Table of contents

Preface by Sir Martin Gilbert, 7; Acknowledgements, 9; List of Illustrations, 10; Key to Names, 12; Foreword, 13; Introduction, 15; 1 Pre-War Germany and the Kristallnacht, 17; 2 The Destruction of a Family, 21; Attempts to arrange emigration before the outbreak of war, 21; Family life after having to leave our home, 31; I go back to school, 34; Forced labour, 38; My parents are deported, 45; 3 Alone in Breslau with Renate, 48; 4 Convicted Criminals, 53; 5 'Voluntary' Transfer to Auschwitz, 68; 6 Music for the Inferno, 74; 7 From Hell to Hell: Our Miraculous Escape to Belsen, 87; 8 The Liberation of Belsen, 94; 9 Peace at Belsen: Secondment to the British Army, 101; Contact with Marianne, 101; Searching for a new life, 107; The traumas of achieving entry to England, 115; 10 Marooned in Brussels, 136; 11 The Boat Across the Channel, 142; Appendices; 1 Declaration of Possessions (Vermogenserklarung), 146; 2 Official German Documents Relating to the Seizure of the Lasker Family's Property in Breslau, 149; 3 Alma Rose in Auschwitz by Dr Margita Schwalbova, 153; 4 Transcript from the Official British Record of the Trial in Luneburg, 157; Index, 164.