From the Publisher
In 1960, Bronka and Joseph Schneider, Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi persecution in Austria, were living in Peoria, Ill. Looking back at their first year in exile, when they worked as domestic servants in a remote Scottish castle , Bronka wrote this memoir, which she sent to the Ladies' Home Journal for publi cation. It was rejected and put aside until 1995, when her niece, Bourguignon, a n anthropologist and herself a refugee, recognized its value. Bronka was not a p rofessional writer, but her story is related with affecting grace and honesty. U ntil March 1938, the Schneiders were an ordinary Viennese Jewish couple: he owne d a leather goods shop, she was a bookkeeper. After the German occupation, Bronk a describes how Nazi harassment of Jews escalated from small humiliations to arr est and deportation to concentration camps. Learning that a servant shortage in Great Britain might offer them a means of escape, the couple endured a harrowing six-month wait to secure travel permits. They arrived in Scotland with little k nowledge of the language or culture and equally little experience of the daily r outine of domestic service. Even the countryside was strange, the barren moors t otally unlike Vienna's woods. The couple handled most mishaps with intelligent g ood humor and a curiously intense attention to the minutiae of daily life?after Warsaw was bombed, for example, Schneider devoted a long passage to cooking rice . Readers may surmise that the key to their survival was the couple's ability to concentrate on the present, neither looking back in despair nor ahead with fear .
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