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An Uncommon Friendship


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About the Author

Bernat Rosner is retired General Counsel of the Safeway Corporation in Oakland, California. Frederic C. Tubach is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of California, Berkeley. Sally Patterson Tubach is the author of Memoirs of a Terrorist.


Adult/High School-"We are more than our histories" is the message of this shared memoir. Two grown American men meet in California in 1983 and slowly exchange stories of childhoods in their respective European villages. With time and trust they are able to divulge the particulars of a deeper and more troubling kinship. As teenagers during World War II, they struggled on opposite sides of the Holocaust, Rosner as his Jewish Hungarian family's only survivor at Auschwitz and Tubach as the son of a German Army intelligence officer and a member of the Jungvolk, a pre-Hitler youth organization. Tubach serves as the straightforward and almost dispassionate narrator of these alternating stories of the unimaginable horror of a concentration camp and the confusion and suspicion within a German village on the periphery of Nazi madness. As with other accounts of survival, readers are compelled to consider to what extent who we are is determined by experiences and forces beyond our control, whether a random act of individual kindness or a movement of mass hysteria. While there is inherent drama in these disparate stories, it is the trajectory that each one takes to converge many years later that makes these remembrances powerful and distinct. Ultimately, this is a book about the importance of our common humanity, about resilience and redemption, and about not letting symbols such as a yellow star or a swastika define or confine us.-Margaret Brown, Arlington County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"[A] remarkable book." Jewish Journal Of S.florida

More a pair of parallel memoirs than the anatomy of a friendship, this unusual book recounts the stories of two friends: Rosner, a Hungarian Jew, was uprooted from his life and sent at age 12 to Auschwitz, where he lost his entire family; Tubach, the son of a German soldier, at nearly the same time was sent to a Nazi training camp (though, afterward, his stepmother, defying the local Nazi youth group, steered him away from joining the Adolf Hitler school). The book's structure is unusual: not only do both authors contribute to each chapter in alternating sections, but Tubach's sections are written in the first person, while Rosner's are written (at his request) in the third person. This approach underscores how Rosner reinvented himself after his privations, while Tubach's path was more direct. Intriguingly, Rosner who came to the United States thanks to a GI who generously invited him into his family became a corporate counsel for Safeway, while Tubach who also emigrated to the U.S. after the war found himself wary of power and sympathetic toward student radicals during his tenure as a professor of German at Berkeley. Their friendship, initiated in 1983 by their wives, is undergirded by a "common belief in Euro-American cultural traditions," such as classical music and faith in a common humanity. Still, the friendship grew only gradually, with Rosner slowly revealing heartrending bits of his story of endurance and survival when the two couples took several trips to his childhood village. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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