Paper Kiss­es: A True Love Story

Richard Kaiser; Anthea Bell, trans.
  • Review
By – June 25, 2012
Set in the begin­ning of 1935, Paper Kiss­es tells the enchant­i­ng sto­ry of the romance between a young Ger­man Jew, Rudolf Kauf­mann, and a Swedish woman, Inge­borg Mag­nus­son. The cou­ple met in Ger­many when Rudolf’s old­er broth­er brought his wife and a trav­el­ing com­pan­ion along for a jour­ney. Aspark unit­ed Rudolf and Inge­borg, and they con­tin­ued shar­ing their pas­sions for one anoth­er through a series of let­ters, and occa­sion­al meet­ings, that end­ed in 1941

The let­ters, which were dis­cov­ered by the author in 1991, at an auc­tion, paint a beau­ti­ful pic­ture of the love and admi­ra­tion that Rudolf and Inge­borg shared against the back­drop of the begin­ning of the Nazis’ rise to pow­er. The two were to share a cou­ple more vis­its togeth­er until Rudolf, who met a Ger­man woman from a dance hall, was found guilty of the law against a Jew hav­ing sex­u­al rela­tions with a non-Jew, and con­se­quent­ly impris­oned for three years. Nev­er­the­less, Rudolf and Inge­borg con­tin­ued their amorous cor­re­spon­dence, and she wait­ed for him until he was released from prison. Sev­er­al bar­ri­ers pre­vent­ed the two from ever meet­ing again, but their romance was pre­served, and is chart­ed in this delight­ful lit­tle book. 

Paper Kiss­es is unique in that Kaiser has filled in the blanks of this love sto­ry based upon his own research and inter­pre­ta­tion of this cor­re­spon­dence, which includes pho­tographs as well as the actu­al let­ters exchanged between the pair. This book is rec­om­mend­ed for any­one inter­est­ed in a love­ly roman­tic sto­ry that begins in the years when the Nazis were ris­ing to power.
Bar­bara S. Cohen is a tri­al attor­ney in Los Ange­les who spe­cial­izes in child abuse cas­es. She is a mem­ber of NAMI and a sup­port­er of NARSAD, and is an advo­cate for those who suf­fer from men­tal illness.

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