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Alex's Wake

Nonfiction: Memoir / Jewish Interest / World War II
Unabridged   12 hour(s)
Publication date: 04/08/2014

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Alex's Wake

A Voyage of Betrayal and Journey of Remembrance

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Audio CD
ITEM: 9781622314072

Regular Price: $39.95

Special Price: $27.97

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ITEM: 9781622314089
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This is a tale of two journeys—one, a journey from the ill-fated voyage of the SS St. Louis in 1939 to the death camp at Auschwitz; the other, a grandson’s journey of remembrance seventy years later.

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Product Description

Alex’s Wake is a tale of two parallel journeys undertaken seven decades apart. In the spring of 1939, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt were two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis, “the saddest ship afloat” (New York Times). Turned away from Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the St. Louis returned to Europe, a stark symbol of the world’s indifference to the gathering Holocaust. The Goldschmidts disembarked in France, where they spent the next three years in six different camps before being shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz.

In the spring of 2011, Alex’s grandson, Martin Goldsmith, followed in his relatives’ footsteps on a six-week journey of remembrance and hope, an irrational quest to reverse their fate and bring himself peace. Alex’s Wake movingly recounts the detailed histories of the two journeys, the witnesses Martin encounters for whom the events of the past are a vivid part of a living present, and an intimate, honest attempt to overcome a tormented family legacy.


“A child of persecuted German Jews remembers his tormented, perished forebears—and makes peace with the country that hounded them to death. . . . A well-researched, thorough reckoning of this shameful past.”
      —Kirkus Reviews

“Underscores the immense moral challenges and failings of a nation that believes itself the leader of the free world. . . . A heartbreaking story of fear, frustration, anti-Semitism and betrayal.”
      —Baltimore Sun

Alex’s Wake is at one level a history lesson as memoir. . . . The book also reads as demonstration of the healing power of story telling, and of the transformation of terrible loss in to great beauty. . . . [The] Jewish concept, Tikkun Olam . . . refers to humanity’s shared responsibility to ‘heal the world.’ With the writing of Alex’s Wake, Goldsmith has done his part.”
      —Boston Globe

“This is family history travelogue as act of repentance—candidly written, deeply considered, and profoundly moving.”
      —Johns Hopkins Magazine

“Martin’s journey and book offer a new perspective on the Holocaust; one that is typically missing from most books and films about the Shoah. . . . Alex’s Wake is a powerful and evocative memoir.”
      —New York Journal of Books

Author Bio

MARTIN GOLDSMITH is the host and classical music programmer for “Symphony Hall” on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and hosted NPR’s Performance Today, from 1989 to 1999. He is the author of The Inextinguishable Symphony and lives in Maryland.

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