Five Hundred Years to Auschwitz

A Family Odyssey from the Inquisition to the Present

Irene Lawford-Hinrichsen
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This is an objective yet dramatic historical account of the journey of one dynasty (the author's Sephardic Jewish paternal family) through 500 years of European turmoil. It tells of how politics and turbulent times shaped a single family's passage from the Inquisition to the Holocaust and beyond, and graphically illustrates the dark reality of history coming "full circle". It's a human story set within an historical context, a fascinating account of achievement, emigration, persecution, horror, and, ultimately, survival. The Henriques/Hinrichsens were not passive observers, but active, enterprising protagonists who left their mark on commerce and society. The family is traced from Spain to Portugal and then to Germany, through Glueckstadt, Schwerin, Hamburg, and Leipzig. In businesses as diverse as shipping, finance, tobacco, ladies' corsetry, and ultimately music publishing, the family were fully engaged in commercial enterprise. Their commitment to politics and civic society led to some becoming Court Jews - financiers to the rulers; another was a High Court Judge and President of the Senate in Hamburg; yet another worked tirelessly toward the emancipation of the Jews. A commitment to music, culture, and philanthropy gave rise to generous bequests to the city of Leipzig in the early decades of the twentieth century. The narrative weaves the political, commercial, social, and personal experiences of the generations together with the often brutal events of their time; the Inquisition, the 30 Years' War, the Great War, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi era, Kristallnacht, Aryanization, Auschwitz, and beyond. The account brings us through the aftermath of the Second World War, Russian occupation of Eastern Germany, and the creation of the GDR, to the USA, and to London, England, and the modern day. It is from here that the author, inspired by the challenges and achievements of her father and grandfather, returns to Leipzig to seek out her roots and resurrect the memory of a truly exceptional dynasty.

Hardcover (256 pages), with 37 illustrations, and family trees

Additional Information

Item Number: CMB16
Format: BOOK
Barcode: 9780953611218
Instrumentation: Book

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