The University of Wisconsin Press

Memoir / European History / Judaica


Nightmare's Fairy Tale
A Young Refugee's Home Fronts, 1938—1948
Gerd Korman

Shoah Studies, Alan L. Berger, Series Editor

"Korman movingly recounts his childhood years as a refugee in war-ravaged Europe. . . . The young adult who emerged was a collage of disjointed personas: an American Jew eager to embrace his new home, an immigrant who never shed the traces of his foreign accent, and a historian eager to tell the story that defines him, his family, and his people."Publishers Weekly

Gerd Korman's memoir plumbs the depths of twentieth-century history—from his family's deportation from Hamburg during the Nazi era, through his time with an Anglican family in rural England, to the family's reunited life in New York City.

"This account is more than a thoughtful memoir by one of the relatively few child survivors of the Holocaust. The book stands out from a growing body of survivor narratives because Korman . . . interweaves a compelling story with astute observations on memory and collective identity. . . . An accessible, thoughtful work that defies pigeonholing as either personal narrative or professional history."—H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online

"The moving tale of a family's tribulations through the eyes of a precocious twelve-year-old. . . . [Korman] also sees the connections made by understanding the Holocaust as a historical phenomenon, writing of the Jewish cinders, now commingled with the black salt of the Atlantic Ocean, and the red dust of the American prairie."—Laurence Edwards, Central Conference of American Rabbis Newsletter

"Using his family's personal struggles, the author, a historian, illuminates the historical context of the time."—Southampton Press

"This work is a gem. In this highly original and sensitively written book, Korman's honesty is a palpable presence throughout."—Alan L. Berger, series editor and Raddock Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust Studies at Florida Atlantic University

Photo of the author Gerd Korman. Korman is wearing a blue plaid shirt, and glasses. Photo credit" John McClymer.Gerd Korman is professor emeritus of American history at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. His books include the prize-winning Industrialization, Immigrants, and Americanizers and several works that established him as an early student of the Holocaust, including the anthology Hunter and Hunted. (Photo credit: John McClymer)

Gerd Korman has a web page about his book, visit

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

There is a press kit for the cloth edition of this book.

Of Related Interest
Refuge Denied
The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust
Sarah A. Ogilvie and Scott Miller
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

the cover of Korman's book is a sepia photo of a young boy with a background of what looks like some official papers. Inset is a small color photo of a large group of lit candles.

September 2007

LC: 2005011891 DS
198 pp.  6 x 9
29 b/w photos

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Cloth $19.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-21080-9
Paper $16.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-21084-7
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Updated March 19, 2010

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