Cross­ing the Bor­ders of Time: A True Sto­ry of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed

  • Review
By – April 12, 2012

Janine Gun­zburg­er Mait­land lit­er­al­ly cross­es bor­ders, oceans, and years as she and her fam­i­ly escape from Nazi Ger­many and occu­pied France, find shel­ter in Cuba, and final­ly come to know free­dom and safe­ty in the Unit­ed States. Cross­ing the Bor­ders of Time fol­lows her jour­ney of love, mem­o­ry, fear, hope, and renewal.

This true sto­ry, writ­ten in a grip­ping and com­pelling style, reads like a nov­el. It traces the love sto­ry of two young peo­ple, Janine and her French Catholic lover, Roland Arcieri, caught up in war-torn France. This love is sus­tained through­out their lives, even though they have no con­tact for over fifty years. It ulti­mate­ly pro­vides a com­fort­ing end­ing to a life­time of ques­tions, duplic­i­ty, and doubts.

The book chron­i­cles the pre­car­i­ous and dan­ger­ous years of run­ning from the Nazis, the post-World War II years, the immi­grant expe­ri­ence, mar­riage, chil­dren, and the even­tu­al sub­ur­ban lifestyle. The Gun­zburg­ers’ strong fam­i­ly ties and loy­al­ties see them through the many crises they face with their dig­ni­ty, human­i­ty, and hopes intact. The many fam­i­ly pic­tures and doc­u­men­ta­tion includ­ed cap­ture each phase of their lives and great­ly add to the reader’s under­stand­ing and per­cep­tion of their account.

Leslie Mait­land, an inves­tiga­tive reporter, opens her mother’s life with pen­e­trat­ing research, sig­nif­i­cant details and descrip­tion, and his­tor­i­cal and geo­graph­i­cal back­ground infor­ma­tion that recre­ate each chap­ter of Janine’s life. Mait­land uses her report­ing skills to track, con­front, ques­tion, and suc­cess­ful­ly find her mother’s lost love and even­tu­al­ly reunite them. She writes with a clear, can­did journalist’s eye and man­ages to remove her­self from the sto­ry, yet place her­self into the nar­ra­tive at the same time. Mait­land writes of her child­hood, her par­ents’ trou­bled mar­riage, and her efforts to find Roland with insight and hon­esty. She clos­es this note­wor­thy read with poet­ic under­stand­ing and gen­tle­ness as she writes about Janine and Roland and the endur­ing strength of their love across the bor­ders of time. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, maps, photograph.

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

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