The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / Jewish Studies / African Studies


Nowhere in Africa
An Autobiographical Novel
Stefanie Zweig
Translated by Marlies Comjean

With a new preface

Terrace Books

“Based on Zweig’s personal experience as a German Jewish refugee child in Kenya during World War II, this novel inspired the 2002 Oscar Award winner for best foreign film. . . . The ironic mix of anger and sorrow is unforgettable.”

Nowhere in Africa is the extraordinary tale of a Jewish family who flees the Nazi regime in 1938 for a remote farm in Kenya. Abandoning their once-comfortable existence in Germany, Walter Redlich, his wife, Jettel, and their five-year-old daughter, Regina, each deal with the harsh realities of their new life in different ways. Regina immediately embraces the country—learning the local language and finding a friend in Owuor, the farm’s cook. As the war rages on the other side of the world, the family's relationships with their strange environment become increasingly complicated, as Jettel grows more self-assured but Walter is haunted by the life in Germany they left behind.

photo of the author, Stefanie Zweig, speaking at a microphone. She is wearing a colorful flowered dress.Stefanie Zweig (1932–2014) was born in Germany in Upper Silesia in 1932. In 1938 she and her parents fled to Kenya, but returned to Germany in 1947. A journalist and author, she has written many award-winning books for children and adults. Her autobiographical novels Nirgendwo in Afrika and Irgendwo in Deutschland have been translated into many languages. The University of Wisconsin Press also publishes the translation of Irgendwo in Deutschland, Somewhere in Germany.

Please see this obituary published in the New York Times.

Click here to visit the website for the 2002 Academy Award–winning film based on this book.


“By 1938, the Nazi terror had flung German Jews far and wide, in an ad hoc diaspora reaching from Argentina to Shanghai. One less-known place of refuge was Kenya, where middle-class Jewish families struggled to adapt to life in a rural outpost of the British Empire. Nowhere in Africa, which inspired the excellent film of the same name, is Stefanie Zweig’s frankly autobiographical novel about this bewildered, homesick group of refugees.”
—Rand Richards Cooper, New York Times Book Review

“A remarkable Holocaust memoir. . . . The story of flight, upheaval, adjustment, disruption, and turmoil is impressive testimony to the strength of the human spirit and is well worth reading.”
—Morton I. Teicher, National Jewish Post and Opinion

Of Related Interest:
Somewhere in Germany
A Novel
Stefanie Zweig
Translated by Marlies Comjean

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Nowhere in Africa

Spring 2004
LC: 2003021169 PT
304 pp. 6 x 9

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ISBN 978-0-299-19964-7 Audiobook Audiobook
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