"A nerve-wracking saga in which life and death depend on a capricious fate...absorbing lucidity...vivid portraits...simple moral vision that resonates--'I met enough decent, brave, and noble Germans and Latvians during the war to be immunized against prejudice'. A testament of remarkable clarity and humanity...." Kirkus Reviews
From the Author
When Stalin brutally seized Latvia--my country--in June 1940, I was one of many Latvian patriots alarmed at this perfidious aggression. I narrowly escaped deportation to the USSR on 14 June 1941. But a few days later, when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union and swiftly drove the Red Army out of Latvia, I became one of 90,000 Latvian Jews who suddenly faced death. The Holocaust began at once. Jews were shot by tens, hundreds, and thousands. Only 2% survived the Nazi occupation.
My father invented an audacious bluff to save his wife and sons--though not himself. My mother was to claim that she was a German foundling raised by Jewish parents. At best this bluff would last a few months, as too many people in our town (Liepāja, pop. 57,000) knew our family. Against all odds, we managed to stretch it out for nearly 2 years, followed by a few years in legal limbo when my mother and I "slipped through cracks in the Holocaust", though my father, brother, and 24 other relatives perished. When the Red Army reentered Latvia in 1944, we fled to Germany with 100,000 others who also thought that one year under Stalin was enough.
This book covers only my years in Europe (1926-1949), prior to my emigration to the US. Part I is my survival story. Part II is my attempt as a scientist to give a dispassionate objective analysis of Latvian conduct during the German occupation. I show that most Latvians deplored the German-led Holocaust murders in which a few thousand Latvians participated.
This book is also available in Latvian and Russian translations by Jumava Publishers, Riga, Latvia (ISBN 978-9984-38-915-8 and 978-9984-38-916-5).