Wal­ter’s Wel­come: The Inti­mate Sto­ry of a Ger­man-Jew­ish Fam­i­ly’s Flight from the Nazis to Peru

  • From the Publisher
March 29, 2018

This is a unique epis­to­lary mem­oir chron­i­cling the efforts of one man to hold togeth­er a large fam­i­ly in the face of the Holocaust.

Thanks to Wal­ter Neiss­er, fifty mem­bers of his Ger­man-Jew­ish fam­i­ly escaped to Peru after Hitler came to pow­er. In Wal­ter’s Wel­come, Wal­ter’s niece Eva Neiss­er Echen­berg tells the fam­i­ly’s sto­ry through let­ters and pho­tos, from Wal­ter’s days as a Ger­man sol­dier in World War I, through his move to South Amer­i­ca, to his busi­ness suc­cess in Lima where his rel­a­tives found work.

Because the sto­ry is told most­ly through more than 100 orig­i­nal let­ters writ­ten over a 60-year peri­od, it has great poignan­cy and imme­di­a­cy. We hear the new refugees try­ing to start afresh in a for­eign land while des­per­ate­ly seek­ing news of those left behind. We watch as fam­i­ly mem­bers still in Ger­many lose their busi­ness­es and pen­sions, are forced to move, rent out rooms, and strug­gle to leave – usu­al­ly unsuc­cess­ful­ly. We read the telegram that arrived too late and the first let­ters sent after release from a con­cen­tra­tion camp.

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