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Alice's Book

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529416336

Price: £20

ON SALE: 12th May 2022

Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

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Hardcover

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“Unputdownable . . . Urbach has also retold the tragic Holocaust story in quite unforgettable lines” A.N. Wilson

“This fascinating book, by Alice’s granddaughter Karina Urbach, shines a spotlight on this lesser-known aspect of Nazi looting” The Times

“A gripping piece of 20th-century family history but also something much more original: a rare insight into the ‘Aryanisation’ of Jewish-authored books during the Nazi regime” Financial Times

What happened to the books that were too valuable to burn?

Alice Urbach had her own cooking school in Vienna, but in 1938 she was forced to flee to England, like so many others. Her younger son was imprisoned in Dachau, and her older son, having emigrated to the United States, became an intelligence officer in the struggle against the Nazis.

Returning to the ruins of Vienna in the late 1940s, she discovers that her bestselling cookbook has been published under someone else’s name. Now, eighty years later, the historian Karina Urbach – Alice’s granddaughter – sets out to uncover the truth behind the stolen cookbook, and tells the story of a family torn apart by the Nazi regime, of a woman who, with her unwavering passion for cooking, survived the horror and losses of the Holocaust to begin a new life in America.

Impeccably researched and incredibly moving, Alice’s Book sheds light on an untold chapter in the history of Nazi crimes against Jewish authors.

“As this engaging memoir makes clear, the theft of the cookbook remained for Alice’s entire life the symbol of everything that had been taken from her” TLS

“A remarkable book” Spiegel

Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

What's Inside

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Reviews

What the historian has brought to light is perfect film material - persecution, murder, fraud, imprisonment, escape, rescue, friendship, secret service activities, rise, fall and a new beginning . . . And Urbach's writing is exciting, cinematic.
Susanne Kippenberger, Tagespiegel
A remarkable book . . . The author describes the slow expropriation of Alice Urbach - a fate she shared with many Jewish authors.
Martin Doerry, Spiegel
Karina Urbach not only reconstructs individual fates from family correspondence and tape interviews from her grandmother's estate, she also draws on a myriad of archives. [...] The fact that she - a traditional historian who is aware of the dangers of a lack of emotional distance - manages this without sentimentality is an achievement in itself. The facts are moving enough.
Walter Schübler, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Exciting, moving, informative - this family memoir belongs on the bestseller list. Simply terrific!
Mike Altwicker, WDR
Exciting, touching and insightful: Karina Urbach has written a great book about a strong woman who could not be shaken by anything and who turned her little happiness into happiness for others
Heribert Prantl, Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Unputdownable . . . I have read all Urbach's historical books with high admiration, but none of them can match this story, for its sheer oddity . . . By telling the story of the brazen theft of a cookbook, and the fate of its title long after the war, Urbach has also retold the tragic Holocaust story in quite unforgettable lines.
A.N. Wilson
Unlike Nazi art theft, about which there are many excellent books, there has been surprisingly little research into the Nazi theft of Jewish authorship . . . As this engaging memoir, smoothly translated by Jamie Bulloch, makes clear, the theft of the cookbook remained for Alice's entire life the symbol of everything that had been stolen from her.
Caroline Moorehead, TLS
A gripping piece of 20th-century family history but also something much more original: a rare insight into the "Aryanisation" of Jewish-authored books during the Nazi regime. Urbach has meticulously pieced together everything she could find about how and why Alice's publishers were able to deny her authorship for more than 80 years . . . It's impossible to read this moving and clear-eyed book without admiring Alice's fiercely optimistic spirit
Bee Wilson, Financial Times
The extraordinary story of a phenomenal woman with a cookery school in pre-war Vienna . . . Thanks to [Urbach's] research, recognition and copyright was restored to Alice's descendants in 2021.
Tablet
This fascinating book shines a spotlight on this lesser-known aspect of Nazi looting.
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Times
A fascinating family history [about] a little-known strand of Nazi persecution.
Matthew Reisz, Spectator
The sheer pettiness of the crime adds to our understanding of the Nazi intent: to rob Jews of any shred of standing, dignity or entitlement . . . Alice's is a story worth telling.
Jenni Frazer, Jewish Chronicle