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  • Hodder & Stoughton
  • Hodder & Stoughton

The Lost Cafe Schindler: One family, two wars and the search for truth

Meriel Schindler

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Memoirs

A fascinating memoir in the vein of East West Street, The Lost Cafe Schindler offers a profound reflection on memory, truth, trauma and the importance of cake.

'Rigorously researched, The Lost Cafe Schindler successfully weaves together a compelling and at times deeply moving memoir and family history that also chronicles the wider story of the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire... It distinguishes itself through its combination of mystery and reconciliation.' -- The Times T2

'In tilling the past Meriel has uncovered the most fascinating - and devastating - family history. The Lost Cafe Schindler is not just a genealogical exploration, though; it sets out the wider experiences of the Jewish population of the Austro-Hungarian empire, weaving in the story of how antisemitism took root' -- Sunday Times

'An impressively researched account of Jewish life in the Tyrol up to and during the Second World War' -- Evening Standard

'An extraordinary story - so cadenced and so moving.' -- Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes

'An extraordinary and compelling book of reckonings - a journey across a long, complex and deeply painful arc of history, grippingly told - a wonderful melding of the personal and the political, the family and the historical.' -- Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

'A well-researched account.' -- The Observer

'The scale of the crimes committed during these years can never be fully comprehended, but through tales like these they become relatable and the sense of loss, shared.' -- Press Association

'Compelling and beautifully written... a remarkable and inspiring story that attests to the strength and compassion of the human spirit in overcoming the tragedy of persecution... Fascinating family history.' - Daily Express

'Schindler builds her story patiently, tracking her own journey in unravelling it' - i

***

Kurt Schindler was an impossible man. His daughter Meriel spent her adult life trying to keep him at bay. Kurt had made extravagant claims about their family history. Were they really related to Franz Kafka and Oscar Schindler, of Schindler's List fame? Or Hitler's Jewish doctor - Dr Bloch? What really happened on Kristallnacht, the night that Nazis beat Kurt's father half to death and ransacked the family home?

When Kurt died in 2017, Meriel felt compelled to resolve her mixed feelings about him, and to solve the mysteries he had left behind.

Starting with photos and papers found in Kurt's isolated cottage, Meriel embarked on a journey of discovery taking her to Austria, Italy and the USA. She reconnected family members scattered by feuding and war. She pieced together an extraordinary story taking in two centuries

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Praise for The Lost Cafe Schindler: One family, two wars and the search for truth

  • An extraordinary and compelling book of reckonings - a journey across long, complex and deeply painful arc of history, grippingly told - a wonderful melding of the personal and the political, the family and the historical.

  • An extraordinary, cadenced and moving story. I felt gripped by Meriel Schindler's uncovering of her father's story and by her tenacity and courage in telling it so openly.

  • Enthralling memoir... ideal for anyone who loved The Hare with Amber Eyes. - The Bookseller

  • 'A well-researched account.' - The Observer

  • 'The scale of the crimes committed during these years can never be fully comprehended, but through tales like these they become relatable and the sense of loss, shared.' - Press Association

  • 'Compelling and beautifully written... a remarkable and inspiring story that attests to the strength and compassion of the human spirit in overcoming the tragedy of persecution... Fascinating family history.' - Daily Express

  • 'Schindler builds her story patiently, tracking her own journey in unravelling it' - i

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Meriel Schindler

Meriel Schindler spent the first fifteen years of her life growing up in central London before suddenly being moved to a convent school in provincial Austria. Five years later she moved back to the UK to study French and German at university and is now an employment lawyer, partner and head of a team at Withers LLP, a law firm. Meriel is also a trustee of Arvon, the writing charity, is married to husband Jeremy and has three grown-up children.

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