Paper Kisses: A True Love Story

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Other Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 112 pages
A fascinating piece of literary detective work about star-crossed lovers in Nazi Germany.

Rudolf Kaufmann, a young Jewish geologist, met Ingeborg Magnusson, a young Swedish woman gifted in languages, in Italy in 1935, and the two quickly fell in love. They spent just a few days together before they had to part. He traveled once to see her in Stockholm; she went once to Germany. After that they had to make do with an exchange of letters—ordinary, sad, and dramatic at the same time—telling the story of a love that blossomed under traumatic circumstances. Paper Kisses covers the period from 1935 to 1941, when Rudolf, having fled Nazi Germany for the apparent safety of Lithuania, was to disappear from view.

Sixty years later, at a stamp auction, author Reinhard Kaiser bought a packet of envelopes that still held their original handwritten contents. The tale he discovered on the pages of Rudolf's letters to his beloved "Ingelein" immediately captivated Kaiser. How did such precious personal correspondence end up on the auctioneer's table? What became of Ingeborg's letters to Rudolf? Did either of the star-crossed lovers survive the war? Kaiser tracked down photographs, documentary records, and finally living members of the couple's families to fill in the gaps of their story.

In Paper Kisses, Kaiser allows the letters to speak for themselves, while providing enough historic context to reveal how remarkable the couple's loyalty, optimism, and resourcefulness were against the backdrop of the harrowing events of World War II. Kaiser's own fascinating literary detective work frames the narrative, as he makes one unexpected find after another. Paper Kisses is both a story of a poignant love affair and a chronicle of a thrilling investigation.

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About the author (2006)

Reinhard Kaiser

Reinhard Kaiser, writer, translator, and editor, was born in 1950 and now lives in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He has won many literary prizes for his books, including Paper Kisses.

Anthea Bell

Anthea Bell's translations include the works of the Brothers Grimm, Clemens Brentano, Wilhelm Hauff, Christian Morgenstern, and E.T.A. Hoffmann. In 2002, her translation of W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz won the Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize from the Goethe- Institut Inter Nationes.

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