The University of Wisconsin Press
Fiction / Judaica / Germany
Somewhere in Germany
An Autobiographical Novel
Translated by Marlies Comjean
“A vivid slice of contemporary history, narrated in a suspenseful and witty manner without accusation or bitterness.”
Somewhere in Germany is the sequel to the acclaimed Nowhere in Africa, which was turned into the Oscar-winning film of the same name. This novel traces the return of the Redlich family to Germany after their nine-year exile in Kenya during World War II. In Africa, Walter had longed for his homeland and dreamed of rebuilding his life as a lawyer, yet ultimately he and his family—wife Jettel, daughter Regina, and baby Max—realize that Germany seems as exotic and unwelcoming to them in 1947 as Kenya had seemed in 1938. Hunger and desperation are omnipresent in bombed-out Frankfurt, and this Jewish family—especially Regina, who misses Africa the most—has a hard time adjusting to their new circumstances. Yet slowly the family adapts to their new home amidst the ruins.
In Frankfurt, Regina matures into a woman and, though her parents want her to marry an upstanding Jewish man, her love life progresses in its own idiosyncratic fashion. She develops a passion for art and journalism and begins her professional career at a Frankfurt newspaper. Walter at last finds professional success as a lawyer, but never quite adjusts to life in Frankfurt, recalling with nostalgia his childhood in Upper Silesia and his years in Africa. Only his son Max truly finds what Walter had hoped for: a new homeland in Germany.
Although the Redlichs receive kindness from strangers, they also learn anti-Semitism still prevails in post-Nazi Germany. They partake in the West German “economic miracle” with their own home, a second-hand car, and the discovery of television, but young Max’s discovery of the Holocaust revives long-buried memories. Rich in memorable moments and characters, this novel portrays the reality of postwar German society in vivid and candid detail.
Stefanie Zweig (1932–2014), a novelist and journalist, was born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1932, fled with her parents to rural Kenya in 1938, and returned to Germany in 1947. Her autobiographical novels Nirgendwo in Afrika and Irgendwo in Deutschland have become European bestsellers. The University of Wisconsin Press also publishes the translation of Nirgendwo in Afrika, Nowhere in Africa.
Please see this obituary published in the New York Times.
Nirgendwo in Afrika was made into a film that won the 2002 U.S. Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and five 2002 Golden Lola (German Film) Awards. Click here to visit the website for this film.
“[A] worthy meditation on homelessness, exile and belonging.”
“The strength of the novel lies . . . in telling with utmost sensibility how a Jewish family attempts the impossible: to lead a normal life in Germany just a few years after the Shoa.”
—Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung
Of Related Interest:
Nowhere in Africa: An Autobiographical Novel
Translated by Marlies Comjean
With a new preface
This book is published with support from the National Endowment for the Arts
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LC: 2006006963 PT
272 pp. 6 x 9
Cloth $24.95 t
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