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- Rowman & Littlefield
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- 454 g
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A Granddaughter's Search for Her Family's Forbidden Nazi Past209
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This powerful memoir traces Brazilian-born American Julie Lindahl's journey to uncover her grandparents' roles in the Third Reich as she is driven to understand how and why they became members of Hitler's elite, the SS. Out of the unbearable heart of the story-the unclaimed guilt that devours a family through the generations-emerges an unflinching will to learn the truth. In a remarkable six-year journey through Germany, Poland, Paraguay, and Brazil, Julie uncovers, among many other discoveries, that her grandfather had been a fanatic member of the SS since 1934. During World War II, he was responsible for enslavement and torture and was complicit in the murder of the local population on the large estates he oversaw in occupied Poland. He eventually fled to South America to evade a new wave of war-crimes trials. The pendulum used by Julie's grandmother to divine good from bad and true from false becomes a symbol for the elusiveness of truth and morality, but also for the false securities we cling to when we become unmoored. As Julie delves deeper into the abyss of her family's secret, discovering history anew, one precarious step at a time, the compassion of strangers is a growing force that transforms her world and the way that she sees her family-and herself.
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A book of immense courage, written with elegance and great power. -- Philippe Sands, author of East West Street An extraordinary meditation on evil and complicity, and on the role future generations play when trying to uncover a perfidious past. With a brilliant prose that often reads as poetry, Julie Lindahl explores and discovers her family's Nazi past. A narrative that is deeply moving as well as informative in its history. -- Marjorie Agosin, Wellesley College; author of I Lived in Butterfly Hill Julie Lindahl has a kind of courage that is rarely found. Her truthfulness is a rigorous and raw inquiry into history through her own ancestry. She avoids the quick gloss and embraces the hard work of holding her family's intergenerational traumas up to the light. What shines through is difficult, but loving. The story is horrible and yet filled with possibility. While her writing is beautiful and effortless, the subject she carries is anything but. I deeply respect her willingness to face the cultural complexity that lives in her own skin. -- Nora Bateson, author of Small Arcs of Larger Circles; award-winning filmmaker of "An Ecology of Mind" I opened The Pendulum and immediately found myself drawn into it. As a historian, I often wondered how we could profit from the determined pursuit of haunted family stories by descendants of individual perpetrators. Here's the breathtaking answer. -- Jochen Boehler, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena In the literature of the Holocaust, the story of the perpetrator is rarely told from 'the inside.' Julie Lindahl has taken on this painstaking task when she tells us the story of her family. It is written from the heart but has outstanding literary qualities-a rare but phenomenal combination. The result is a very important book that is difficult to put down before you reach the end. -- Stefan Einhorn, Karolinska Institute; author of The Art of Being Kind Outstanding insights into the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust-based on the perspective of both perpetrators and their descendants. The book is indispensable for anyone who wants to see the extent and complexity of the lasting influence of war, not only in its own time but also for future generations. -- Eskil Franck, Uppsala University; Former Director, The Living History Forum A powerful book about good and evil that has become even more important in today's climate of mounting far-right extremism and alternative facts. -- Hedi Fried, author, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor I have never read a book as perceptive, intuitive, and courageous as Julie Lindahl's memoir. She is the first of her generation to describe the reverberations of that terrible Darwinism, that 'Herrenmensch' orientation, and its overwhelming consequences so profoundly. I thank her with all my heart. -- Gerhard Hoch, theologian and historian of Nazism in Schleswig-Holstein An intimate investigation into family truth and lies, shame and grief, anger and indignation. Unfolding like a mystery novel with the very highest stakes, it not only looks with honesty and wisdom at the past but purposefully asks what we're going to make of it for the future. The brilliance and novelty of Lindahl's courageous journey lies in situating her own family history within our collective experience and common pain, thereby reawakening our shared duty to break the silence and go make things better. -- Derek B. Miller, internationally bestselling author of Norwegian by Night As we travel with Julie Lindahl, we gain a deeper capacity for justice, compassion and commitment to confront today's unthinkable evils. Her investigation and the publication of her excruciating family history have come at a high personal cost-but also with the joy of discovering long-lost relatives and building a global family of survivors and readers. We all are now deeply indebted to her. -- Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi, Institute of Global Affairs, London School of Economics The Nazi past casts long shadows
Julie Lindahl is an author and educator living in Sweden. She is a contributor to WBUR Cognoscenti and has been featured on National Public Radio. Julie holds a BA from Wellesley College, an MPhil in international relations from Oxford University, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Frankfurt. She is the founder of Stories for Society, a nonprofit organization for renewing the art of story-making among youth for social transformation. WBUR 90.9 won the 2018 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation and the 2018 Associated Press Media Editor's Award for innovation in storytelling based on a program series featuring her story.
Acknowledgments Prologue Part I: "Quiet Is Best" Chapter 1: Sweden, 2015 Chapter 2: West Germany, 1989 Chapter 3: The United Kingdom, 1990 Chapter 4: Germany, 1997 Chapter 5: Germany, 2010 Chapter 6: Germany, 2012 Chapter 7: Germany, 2012 Chapter 8: Poland, 2012 Chapter 9: Germany, 2013 Chapter 10: Germany, 2013 Chapter 11: Poland, 2013 Chapter 12: Auschwitz, 2013 Chapter 13: Bosnia Herzegovina, 2014 Part II: The Red Dust Chapter 14: Sweden, June 2015 Chapter 15: Latin America, February 2016 Chapter 16: Asuncion, February 2016 Chapter 17: Asuncion, February 2016 Chapter 18: Asuncion, March 2016 Chapter 19: Asuncion, March 2016 Chapter 20: Sao Paulo, March 2016 Chapter 21: Campo Grande, March 2016 Chapter 22: Campo Grande, March 2016 Chapter 23: Maracaju, March 2016 Chapter 24: Maracaju, March 2016 Chapter 25: Brasilia, March 2016 Chapter 26: Stockholm, May 2017 Suggested Reading About the Author