My Wounded Heart: The Life of Lilli Jahn, 1900-1944

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A&C Black, Sep 7, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages

My Wounded Heart tells the heart-breaking story of a gifted Jewish doctor, the mother of five children, who, after being divorced by her Aryan husband, is arrested on an absurd charge and sent to a corrective labour camp in 1942. Lilli was a prolific letter writer and miraculously almost all her letters to her children and friends, together with a huge number of their letters to her (smuggled out of the camp at Breitenau before she was sent to Auschwitz), survived the Second World War and only came to light on the death of her son in 1998.

In the letters and in Martin Doerry's superb commentary, we see the deterioration of a whole country through the eyes of an ordinary family driven asunder by pressure from the Nazi regime. We see Lilli's initial optimism and love of her husband begin to crack. We see her trying to support and run the family home from Breitenau camp, but relying totally on her twelve-year-old daughter, Ilse. And we see the difficulties for the children of living with their father's mistress, now his wife, after a bombing raid destroys the family home. And perhaps most moving of all, we see Ilse's heroic attempts to meet her mother, even though it means going into the labour camp itself, and Lilli's courage in the face of her inevitable end.


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"MY WOUNDED HEART": The Life of Lilli Jahn, 1900-1944

User Review  - Kirkus

Correspondence among a mother confined to a Nazi labor camp, her children, and friends outside.A cache of letters from Lilli Jahn, a physician born in Germany in 1900 who died in Auschwitz in 1944 ... Read full review


User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Of the many Holocaust memoirs published today, this book differs in that it is about a woman who did not survive. Doerry, deputy editor in chief of Der Spiegel and grandson of Lili Jahn, weaves ... Read full review


Editors Introduction
Years of Persecution at Immenhausen
Banishment to Kassel
Death in Auschwitz

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About the author (2009)

Martin Doerry was born in 1955. He studied German literature and History in Tübingen and Zürich, and completed his PhD in Modern History. He has worked at Der Spiegel since 1987 and was appointed Deputy Editor In Chief in 1998.

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