The Children of Willesden Lane : Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival
Based on the true story of her mother, Mona Golabek describes the inspirational story of Lisa Jura Golabek's escape from Nazi-controlled Austria to England on the famed Kindertransport. Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura has a wonderful life in Vienna. But when the Nazis start closing in on the city, life changes irreversibly. Although he has three daughters, Lisa's father is only able to secure one berth on the Kindertransport. The family decides to send Lisa to London so that she may pursue her dreams of a career as a concert pianist. Separated from her beloved family, Lisa bravely endures the trip and a disastrous posting outside London before finding her way to the Willesden Lane Orphanage.It is in this orphanage that Lisa's story truly comes to life. Her music inspires the other orphanage children, and they, in turn, cheer her on in her efforts to make good on her promise to her family to realize her musical potential. Through hard work and sheer pluck, Lisa wins a scholarship to study piano at the Royal Academy. As she supports herself and studies, she makes a new life for herself and dreams of reconnecting with the family she was forced to leave behind. The resulting tale delivers a message of the power of music to uplift the human spirit and to grant the individual soul endurance, patience, and peace.
One of 10,000 Jewish children sent to England by fearful parents at the dawn of WWII, aspiring pianist Lisa Jura was 14 when her family put her on a Kindertransport train in Vienna. In this alternately heart-wrenching and uplifting story, Jura's daughter, Golabek, a pianist, and writer Cohen trace the six years Jura spent in London, where she found surrogate families in the 31 other young refugees at the Willesden Lane hostel, and in the working-class British women at the East End garment factory that employed her. The authors beautifully capture Jura's passion for music and her determination to realize her dream of becoming a concert pianist. Her quest to win a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music seems to inject hope into everyone with whom she comes into contact: the hostel owner provides her with a piano and practice time, her housemates band together to drill her on technique and theory, and a co-worker makes her an audition outfit. Yet this is no Babes in Arms. Jura's struggle to hold herself together on the trip to England and as she makes a life for herself without the guidance of her beloved mother is as bleak as her musical successes are joyful. And the depictions of V-Day are especially vivid: rather than celebrate with the masses, Jura retreats to the hostel. The war may be over, but for her and her fellow young refugees waiting to learn the fate of their families, the tragedy will continue.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Grand Central Publishing
April 30, 2002
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