Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $12.00
  • Save: $2.64 (22%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Das Haus: in East Berlin:... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book shows a small amount of wear - very good condition. Selection as wide as the Mississippi.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany? Paperback – September 15, 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.36
$8.58 $3.96

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$9.36 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany?
  • +
  • Death of a Diva: From Berlin to Broadway
Total price: $24.35
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

THE MIAMI HERALD (Front Page): Based only on appearances, it was merely a house, four walls and a roof… and a small yard. But for two… Americans, this home in what was once East Germany, came to symbolize much more: a connection to a world long gone. The story of this house and the people inexorably bound to it is chronicled … in Das Haus: Can two families – one Jewish, one Gentile -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany? Though they track the turbulent history of modern Germany, and the horrors that came with it, co-authors J. Arthur Heise and Melanie Kuhr, strike a decidedly hopeful tone… The story of Das Haus begins in 1941, when Heise’s parents bought [it] in a middle-class suburb of Berlin. The sellers were Melanie Kuhr’s Jewish great-grandparents [the Simonsohns]… The Heises would eventually be forced out of the house by the Soviets in 1945… [After the Wall came down, Heise said] “When I started looking into this … I didn’t think getting it back would be so difficult and take me so long. But the Communists had had it for more than 50 years, and it was about time I got it back.” And so he launched what would become a 10-year legal battle with enough twists and turns for a Hollywood movie. This led him to contact the [Simonhson’s] only surviving heir, Melanie Kuhr [whose great-grandparents had perished in a concentration camp]. That relationship began with mistrust on both sides. Was Heise’s father a Nazi who took advantage of the situation to ‘steal’ house from elderly Jews? Was Kuhr stalling to make a move on her own? Eventually, the two heirs evolved from antagonist to friends… They realized that each needed the other to be able to sell the house which they eventually did… The process of claiming the house strengthened Kuhrs’ commitment to her Jewish roots: ‘I experienced and embraced the Hebrew principle tikkum olam, which suggests that it’s our shared responsibility to heal the world…”

Hendersonville Times-News: We've often heard that true stories -- the drama in our real lives -- surpasses fiction. "Das Haus" (in East Berlin) is the real story that surpasses any fiction for drama and for heart-warming resolution. The book is written by J. Arthur Heise...and Melanie Kuhr...This non-fiction work traces the history of Das Haus, a home that housed Mr. Heise and his family for a period of time and also housed Ms Kuhr's great-grandparents, grandmother and mother. Each chapter of the book is written by one of the authors and weaves into the story of the house, their families and the history of World War II... [T]he event that caught [Heise] by surprise was the day the Berlin Wall tumbled... With the opportunity to reclaim Das Haus, Heise started a challenging journey. During the same period, Kuhr's grandmother started her own journey to reclaim the house... Suddenly two families are claiming the same property. The story unfolds as Heise, who believed success to reclaim the house rested in building and alliance with the heir of the former Jewish owners, arranged to meet Kuhr [who pursued the claim after her grandmother's death]. The interwoven chapters tell from both points of view the suspicion and challenges of trying to build a partnership between two people whose family histories through the war years were so treacherous. Heise said, "It was the most chilling moment in the quest...when I realized that the couple from whom my father had bought the house perished in a concentration camp within two years of the sale." In the end, together they gain the house. But they gain so much more in their understanding of their families and their own friendship. Throughout the story, each author allows us into the privacy of the families. They share personal tragedies and, in the end, help us all understand the strength and courage of all those who survive war.

Texas Jewish Post: “Das Haus in East Berlin” is the true story that answers the question of whether a Jewish family and a Gentile family can find peace after a clash that began in Nazi Germany. Helene and Theodor Simonsohn [Melanie Kuhr’s] great-grandparents built Das Haus in Karlshorst, a Berlin suburb. After Kristallnacht , in November 1938, it was clear that the family had to leave … to survive. Ruth went to England as a housekeeper and Susanne, Kuhr’s mother, was on one of the last Kindertransports out of Germany… [T]he Simonsohns sold their house to the Heise family. “I had heard my family’s stories while I was growing up. I knew it was dark and sad and frightening, but I didn’t know the depth,” said Kuhr, a second-generation survivor. Susanne and grandmother Ruth ultimately escaped the horror of the Holocaust. A phone call from J Arthur Heise in 1998 changed Kuhr’s world… “We started as antagonists of sorts,” said Kuhr, speaking about the earliest days of coming together with Heise… “But we built a relationship, ultimately selling the home together, and finding a way – through this book – to profile our shared history. Ours is a story of exploration, of forgiveness and of understanding…” Heise, who lived in the Simonsohns’ former home as a young child, was inspired after the fall of the Berlin Wall to reclaim his family’s home. In doing this he met Kuhr… Many who have read “Das Haus” have approached Kuhr with an appreciation for her value of forgiveness. “The writing of the book has been a journey in itself. For Art, he learned much more about his father’s Nazi connections and that is not at all an easy thing. I have come closer to my Judaism by all that I have learned, and that has been positive,” said Kuhr… “I feel at peace with my truth, and that only the people who know what happened have all passed away. It was up to Art and I to put the past behind us and make peace with it; and we wanted to finish our families’ work,” said Kuhr

Review

Five-Star, First-Place Winner of 2015 Red City Review Book Awards Competition: Das Haus in East Berlin Undoubtedly a must-read for any German or American, Das Haus:

In East Berlin chronicles the long and arduous journey of two individuals forever connected to the Holocaust. In a joint writing effort, J. Arthur Heise and Melanie Kuhr recall their memories of growing up in German-American families, and the events that led to a legal battle for control of a deteriorating, East German home. While the immigrant Heise became a successful reporter and founding dean of Florida International’s school of journalism, the dark memories of his childhood home cast a spell over his conscious, especially when rumors of his father’s past threatened the family legacy. On the other hand, American-born Melanie Kuhr knew little about her family’s German past but ultimately rediscovered her Jewish heritage while learning about her relatives who may or may not have sold their home to the father of J. Arthur Heise.

The legalities of this harrowing story may initially appear cumbersome to some readers, however the text is presented in a highly accessible vignette style. Each writer establishes the historical context for their eventual meeting, and the heart-breaking details remind of a time when daily survival trumped future plans. The investigation by Heise into both his father and brother’s past will challenge any reader’s tear ducts, while Kuhr’s descriptions of her misgivings set the tone for a heart-warming conclusion. The occasional use of bold text and italics seems unnecessary, but it’s only a minor critique for two strong-willed individuals who overcame differences to find a mutual truth. Das Haus not only provides a valuable history lesson for old and young readers alike, but also reinforces the fact that mutual respect always makes life easier. Despite their initial clash, Heise and Kuhr collaborated once again for a poignant story of familial bonds.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 148198926X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481989268
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,658,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DAS HAUS is an engaging account of J. Arthur Heise's quest to reclaim ownership of his father's house which had been occupied by the Soviets as they invaded Berlin at the end of World War II. This journey, only made possible after the reunification of Germany, intrigues the reader at many levels. World War II finds Arthur Heise living in the house as a young boy. The Holocaust casts its evil shadow as it is discovered that the Simonsohns, who were previous owners of the Haus, perished at Theresienstadt. Cold War realities are pervasive as families like the Heises are displaced. Yet for the reader, the process of reclaiming the house to its rightful owners is the compelling aspect of this work.

For Heise, this journey will be painful as he does not know where it leads. Among other things, he needs to prove that his father did not obtain the house from its Jewish owners illegally. He must enlist the cooperation of Melanie Kuhr, great-granddaughter of Theodore and Helene Simonsohn. The eventual willingness of Melanie to coauthor the book is short of miraculous. In the final analysis, the Haus itself becomes the symbol of what perhaps J. Arthur Heise may not have realized when he began this journey: that it is the human spirit that prevails. As the journey continues, the reader witnesses the process of how a Gentile and a Jew overcome fear and mistrust, to cooperate in reclaiming the house and sharing in the profits if they succeed. As they proceed, will Arthur Heise learn whether his father had culpability? Will Melanie be able to find closure and a realization that her great-grandparents triumphed in the end?

DAS HAUS is a riveting story, but one that gives hope in this age during which religious, ethnic, and political divisions are again tearing the world apart. The authors of DAS HAUS illustrate how fear can be converted into courage, mistrust to trust, and defeat into triumph. Kudos to Heise and Kuhr.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This joint memoir does an astonishing job of knitting together the tales of two Americans whose paths crossed because of a modest house in Berlin. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the authors learned that they had conflicting claims of ownership of the house. In the course of telling the story of their often-stormy negotiations and investigations regarding the house, each author digs into his/her family's past. The central issue that Heise, a retired journalist and educator, wrestles with is whether his father was a Nazi who threw a Jewish family out of the house during the Hitler era so the Heises could move in. Kuhr, the heir to that Jewish family, has her own ghosts to confront. For most of her life she has been a Jew in name only, but now she is compelled to explore her ancestors' lives -- some of which ended in the WWII concentration camps. I'm not going to reveal any spoilers, but it does no harm to say that, as in a good novel, both protagonists' lives are forever changed by their quest for das Haus. This book is nonfiction, but it reads like it sprang from the imagination of an accomplished novelist. I recommend it with no reservations.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No subject is more difficult for anyone to examine than his own life. For an experienced journalist who's been trained to stay in the background while observing others, it's also the hardest subject to write about honestly. Art Heise took on both challenges as he decided to pursue a claim to his family's former home in Berlin after The Wall came crashing down. The discovery that the home was originally owned by a Jewish family forced him to question whether he had any legitimate claim to the property, and it led to far more painful questions about his father's Nazi past. I know Art, and now I feel I know co-author Melanie Kuhr, who bravely accepted the challenge presented by this stranger from a time and place her family had struggled to leave behind. What they accomplished in forging a most unlikely friendship while recovering the house is matched by their accomplishment in telling their stories in such bold and honest detail. Das Haus offers powerful testimony that the long shadow of history cannot obscure the light of human decency and understanding.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Das Haus is the most incisive description of the complicated relationship between Geman citizens, the Nazis and Jews I've ever known.

Arthur's skill in outlining the difficult process in solving ownership with Melanie, is fascinating to understand.

An insightful outline of conditions facing the German and Jewish population in Hitler's Reich.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a heart-griping story about a house in Berlin confiscated by the Soviets after the fall of that city in World War II. The house survives the Nazis, is confiscated by the Soviets, quarreled over by two Americans, and provides the centerpiece for a heart-warming story of a woman who rediscovers her past and a man who perseveres against all odds.
Das Haus:: Can two families -- one Jewish, one Gentile -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany brings to print the journey Melanie Kuhr and J, Arthur Heise traveled as they first argured over the house, reconciled and finally became fast friends. It follows Ms. Kuhr as she discovers things about her Jewish family and turned to her Jewish roots to rekindle her desire to live a Jewish life. For Dr. Heise it closed a painful chapter in his life that began when Soviet soldiers banged on the front door of Das Haus and gave the six-year-old and his family less than 24 hours to get out of the house. Hitler's persecution of the Jews in the Holocaust plays a key role in Das Haus. In fact the book is written in memory of Ms. Kuhr's Great-Grandparents, Theodor and Helene Simonsohn, Holocaust victims.
I have known this story for many years. I was among a group of friends who encouraged Dr. Heise to tell this saga to a wider audience The intrigue, pathos, fear and joy demanded it be told. Dr. Heise was in Costa Rica when the Berlin Wall fell and he realized he might have a chance to recover the family home in what was then East Berlin. He had no idea where that quest would lead him over the next 10 years, Nor did Ms.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany?
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Das Haus: in East Berlin: Can two families -- one Jewish, one not -- find peace in a clash that started in Nazi Germany?
Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: conflict management, conflict resolution