Second Generation adult children have recently begun to write about their return to the scenes of their parents’ travail not only to explore that past but also to posit their own reactions to the country (such as Lev Raphael in My Germany, University of Wisconsin, 2009), but in the book under review, Price is on a trip to recapture what he might have been had Hitler not robbed him of the opportunity of growing up in Austria, which he left as an infant. The far less privileged life this once prosperous family endured in the United States while slowly climbing their way up to middle class respectability, surely differed from the life they would have led in Vienna — or so he imagines. In 1990, therefore, the author responded affirmatively to Austria’s offer to re-issue passports to those whom they had once degraded, tortured, and murdered. Writing this book was the incentive Price needed to rationalize the research he undertook that enabled him to resurrect his multi-member family, the life he would have led as a well-to-do Viennese from such a large prosperous family; and as he says, a way, more particularly, to understand his courageous and ingenious mother and father and, by extension, himself. While the narrative describing Price’s adolescence shows him to have been hampered by a sense of being an immigrant, and to be less than a shining light, at some point, he must have gathered himself because he has achieved distinction in academic and legal purviews in the United States, and has successfully entered into the process of gaining reparations for his family from the Austrian government. Is this book part of a new genre, perhaps, that of a Second Generation, re-establishing rather than relinquishing family ties to the countries that once gravely punished them?
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.