In 1933, Dr. Hugo Mendel, a successful Jewish lawyer, escaped Germany along with his family and moved to Tel Aviv. They were some of “the lucky ones” who made it out alive. Two decades later, he and his wife Lucie returned to Germany for a couple of months. Shortly after returning to Tel Aviv, Hugo jumped to his death.
Now, Hugo’s grandson Emanuel Rosen retraces his grandparents’ fateful European trip and its aftermath. With warmth, insight, humor, and compassion, Rosen tells his family’s story‚ their life in pre-war Germany, their new life in Israel, their return visit to Europe, and Emanuel’s mother Miriam’s legal fight to get the German government to accept responsibility for her father’s suicide even though it happened years after the war ended.
Growing up, Emanuel didn’t know about the suicide, the legal battle, or the Nazi psychiatrist the court-appointed as an expert witness. In short, he didn’t know much until he found some letters his grandparents had sent from that trip and he went to Germany to retrace their journey.