The event will take place at 2 pm at Off Square Books Sunday, August 18
Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a riveting story of Jewish families seeking to escape Nazi Germany
In 1938, on the eve of World War II, the American journalist Dorothy Thompson wrote that “a piece of paper with a stamp on it” was “the difference between life and death.” The Unwanted is the intimate account of a small village on the edge of the Black Forest whose Jewish families desperately pursued American visas to flee the Nazis. Battling formidable bureaucratic obstacles, some make it to the United States while others are unable to obtain the necessary documents. Some are murdered in Auschwitz, their applications for American visas still “pending.”
Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, interviews, and visa records, Michael Dobbs provides an illuminating account of America’s response to the refugee crisis of the 1930s and 1940s. He describes the deportation of German Jews to France in October 1940, along with their continuing quest for American visas. And he re-creates the heated debates among U.S. officials over whether or not to admit refugees amid growing concerns about “fifth columnists,” at a time when the American public was deeply isolationist, xenophobic, and antisemitic.
A Holocaust story that is both German and American, The Unwanted vividly captures the experiences of a small community struggling to survive amid tumultuous world events.
Michael Dobbs was born and educated in Britain, but is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent. He has taught at leading American universities, including Princeton, the University of Michigan, and Georgetown. He is currently on the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His previous books include the best-selling One Minute to Midnight on the Cuban missile crisis, which was part of an acclaimed Cold War trilogy. He lives outside Washington D.C.