A bestselling 1930s' cookbook by the author's Jewish grandmother was published for decades under a false name after the Nazi takeover of Austria
The story of a Jewish chef whose bestselling cookbook was expropriated under the Nazi regime, and who had to rebuild her life in England and the United States
Alice Urbach had her own cooking school in Vienna, but in 1938 she was forced to flee to England, like so many other Jews. Her younger son was imprisoned in Dachau, and her older son, having emigrated to the United States, became an intelligence officer fighting the Nazis underground.
What happened to the books that were too valuable to burn?
Returning to the ruins of Vienna in the late 1940s, she discovers that her bestselling cookbook is published under someone else's name. Now, eighty years later, the historian Karina Urbach - Alice's granddaughter - sets out to uncover the truth behind the stolen cookbook, and tells the story of a family blown apart by the Nazi regime, of a woman who, with her unwavering passion for cooking, survived the horror and losses of the Holocaust to begin a new life in America.
Impeccably researched and incredibly moving, Alice's Book sheds light on an untold chapter in the history of Nazi crimes against Jewish non-fiction authors
"Urbach not only reconstructs individual fates from family correspondence and tape interviews from her grandmother's estate, she also draws on a myriad of archives. [...] The fact that she manages this without sentimentality is an achievement in itself. The facts are moving enough" Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"A remarkable book" Spiegel
Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
Karina Urbach not only reconstructs individual fates from family correspondence and tape interviews from her grandmother's estate, she also draws on a myriad of archives. [...] The fact that she - a traditional historian who is aware of the dangers of a lack of emotional distance - manages this without sentimentality is an achievement in itself. The facts are moving enough. - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
A remarkable book . . . The author describes the slow expropriation of Alice Urbach - a fate she shared with many Jewish authors. - Spiegel
What the historian has brought to light is perfect film material - persecution, murder, fraud, imprisonment, escape, rescue, friendship, secret service activities, rise, fall and a new beginning . . . And Urbach's writing is exciting, cinematic. - Tagespiegel