"While there is no comprehensive volume on the escape of 18,000 Jews to Shanghai during the Holocaust, there are about twenty memoirs by refugees who were saved there. What sets this one apart is that the events are seen from the perspectives of two young children. Deborah was three and her brother Ilie twelve..."
Both Deborah and Ilie attended the Jewish school, but painfully, both remember the hunger pains they suffered. Their lunch, brought from home, was one slice of bread which Deborah placed on the radiator to make toast. Ilie was sent to pawn his mother’s wedding ring when they had no money for food. Deborah had but one doll, with no arms. They lived in Shanghai with no family, no uncles or aunts, no cousins or grandparents, surrounded by cholera, typhus, and dysentery. They also remember that this refugee community produced newspapers and opera companies, radio programs, and lectures on Chinese culture. German Jews looked down on Austrian Jews, and both looked down on Eastern European Jews. Both Deborah and Ilie describe the American bombing of July 17, 1945 when the Jewish ghetto was hit. This was their finest hour, as Jews and Chinese worked together to help the injured and put out the fires. The Chinese, to this day, remember with pride how the two communities both struggled and worked together to help each other. Deborah and Ilie both participated in this rescue and remember it well. On a chance visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, Deborah suddenly saw her photo on the wall. The result is this book, which is well worth reading.
Reviewed June, 2012
"An Uncommon Journey is a riveting account of an Austrian Jewish
family's roundabout flight to freedom during WWII, a testimonial to the
powers of adaptation, ingenuity, and family unity, with a bit of luck
thrown in. The memoir's dual authors - who are brother and sister -
combine suspense, history, and great story-telling, finding improbable
moments of humor in their perilous journey. A fresh, valuable addition
to the literature on the period."
--- Erica Abeel, Entertainment journalist and author of the novel Conscience Point