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The Tiger in the Attic : Memories of the Kindertransport and Growing up English
In 1939, on the eve of Hitler's invasion of Poland, seven-year-old Edith Milton (then Edith Cohn) and her sister Ruth left Germany by way of the Kindertransport, the program which gave some 10,000 Jewish children refuge in England. The two were given shelter by a jovial, upper-class British foster family with whom they lived for the next seven years. Edith chronicles these transformative experiences of exile and good fortune in The Tiger in the Attic, a touching memoir of growing up as an outsider in a strange land.
In this illuminating chronicle, Edith describes how she struggled to fit in and to conquer self-doubts about her German identity. Her realistic portrayal of the seemingly mundane yet historically momentous details of daily life during World War II slowly reveals istelf as a hopeful story about the kindness and generosity of strangers. She paints an account rich with colorful characters and intense relationships, uncanny close calls and unnerving bouts of luck that led to survival. Edith's journey between cultures continues with her final passage to America--yet another chapter in her life that required adjustment to a new world--allowing her, as she narrates it here, to visit her past as an exile all over again.
The Tiger in the Attic is a literary gem from a skilled fiction writer, the story of a thoughtful and observant child growing up against the backdrop of the most dangerous and decisive moment in modern European history. Offering a unique perspective on Holocaust studies, this book is both an exceptional and universal story of a young German-Jewish girl caught between worlds.
"Adjectives like 'audacious' and 'eloquent,' 'enchanting' and 'exceptional' require rationing. . . . But what if the book demands these terms and more? Such is the case with The Tiger in the Attic, Edith Milton's marvelous memoir of her childhood."--Kerry Fried, Newsday
"Milton is brilliant at the small stroke . . . as well as broader ones."--Alana Newhouse, New York Times Book Review
In 1939, Milton was one of thousands of Jewish children who escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. Although her mother had obtained a visa to the United States, Milton and her older sister were unable to join her until after the war, and this memoir focuses on the more than six years that Milton spent as the foster child of a Christian English family. Although Milton's story proceeds in a generally linear fashion, she makes numerous digressions. For example, in her discussions about her father, who died prior to her departure from Germany, Milton makes reference to an older half brother, whom she finally meets years later in Tel Aviv. While her narrative includes the familiar references to wartime shortages and the fear of aerial assault, at its center is her realization that memory has an elastic quality; images of her past both fade and become more vivid as she grows older. Some of the most poignant moments involve her difficulty in emotionally reconnecting with her mother after six years of separation and her ambiguous relationship with her Jewish heritage. Recommended for all libraries. [For an interview with Milton, see "Fall Editors' Picks," LJ 9/1/05.-Ed.]-Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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University of Chicago Press
December 14, 2006
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