Address Unknown

Address Unknown

4.15 (3,332 ratings on Goodreads)
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This thought provoking and poignant story was written on the eve of the Holocaust as a series of letters between an American Jew living in San Francisco and his former business partner and friend who returned to his native Germany. Address Unknown caused a sensation when it was first published in 1938 by exposing early on the poison of Nazism. The significant and timeless message of Address Unknown speaks to our moral conscience and survives as a searing reminder that history can repeat more

Product details

  • Hardback | 64 pages
  • 128 x 170 x 11mm | 188g
  • Souvenir Press Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0285636294
  • 9780285636293
  • 104,172

Review Text

This tiny book was first published in 1938, when Hitler had just established himself in Germany and the persecution of the Jews had already reached the stage of arrest, concentration camp and death. It is an exchange of letters between two business partners - a Jew and an Aryan. The latter returns to Germany and is captivated by Nazism; the former remains in the USA, horrified by his friend's fascism - and when his sister, an actress, makes the mistake of announcing her Jewishness from the stage of a Berlin theatre and vanishes, he is devastated to hear of his former friend's betrayal of her. His revenge is swift and ingenious. This book had an enormous effect on first publication, and is one of the forgotten texts of the 1930s. It is good to have it in print again, and though it can be read in half an hour; the impression it makes is still remarkable and lasting. (Kirkus UK)show more

Our customer reviews

<p><a href="">Address Unknown</a> is a highly moving and deeply troubling epistolary novella. It is an account of a friendship warped and destroyed in the years of Hitler's rise to power in the early 1930s. Martin Schulse has returned to Germany to pursue his business interests as an art dealer, his close (Jewish) friend, Max Eisenstein, remains in San Francisco running the Shulse-Eisenstein Gallery from the Californian end. After a couple of warm letters expressing their deep affection for one another, Max asks Martin to comment on the stories he has been hearing in the USA from Jews returning from the Continent: "I am in distress at the press reports that come pouring in to us from the Fatherland ... Write me, my friend, and set my mind at ease." Shockingly, Martin responds to Max neither with consolation nor affection, but with a request that their correspondence cease. Martin tries to explain himself, but it is clear he is in sympathy with what is going on in Germany. Worse comes: when Max's sister Griselle, an old flame of Martin's, is badly in need of help a shocking betrayal occurs. Martin has moved from being equivocal through being approving to becoming a Nazi zealot. </p> <p>Profound and desperately moving, this tiny book (just 50 pages) packs a massive emotional punch. Kressmann Taylor (the pen name of Kathrine Kressmann) manages to explore the death of friendship consequent on the birth of a vicious ideology without ever becoming sentimental. Indeed, her book has very hard edges. This 1938 classic, which helped explain to America what was happening in the Germany of the day, is still an essential read.</p>show more
by Mark Thwaite
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