The Glassmaker’s Son: Looking for the World my Father left behind in Nazi Germany Spiral-Bound |
The Glassmaker’s Son: Looking for the World my Father left behind in Nazi Germany
A blend of lyrical memoir and sober history, The Glassmaker's Son recounts a son's decades-long quest to uncover the world his Jewish father left behind in Nazi Germany.
A blend of lyrical memoir and sober history, The Glassmaker's Son recounts a son's decades-long quest to uncover the world his father left behind in Nazi Germany. Along the way, he makes a series of surprising discoveries about his family, who were important players in the Bavarian glassmaking industry. After his grandfather was forced to sell the family villa, for instance, the Nazis turned it into their regional headquarters before it was destroyed by American artillery in the closing days of the war. In another twist, the author recovers a pair of lost portraits of his great-grandparents that an elderly housekeeper had been "guarding" for more than 40 years.
Using a cache of old letters found in his parents' attic and other documents, Kupfer painstakingly pieces together the details of his grandfather's deportation and murder at Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in western Czechoslavakia touted by the Gestapo as a "spa town" for distinguished Jews. At its core, this book is about a search for identity - the identity of the author's soft-spoken, inscrutable father and of the author himself.
"The Glassmaker's Son is a stunning exploration of legacy. Kupfer brings so much heart to his journey, so much intelligence and curiosity - he makes it come alive." - Menachem Kaiser, author of Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure, winner of the 2022 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
"A moving account of a son in search of his father and the home from which his family was expelled. Peter Kupfer's compelling story leads deep into the abyss of a small Bavarian town during Nazi Germany and into the labyrinth of the human soul. Anyone who is interested in exploring their family roots and in reconciliation with a difficult past should read this book." - Michael Brenner, Director of the Center for Israel Studies at American University and International President of the Leo Baeck Institute for the Study of German-Jewish History
"This is a wonderful piece of work ... compelling throughout; elegantly weaves the chilling history of German antisemitism with personal family history. ... The descriptions of family life in Connecticut wield significant emotional power. It feels like you're taken back in time and are the fly on the wall during critical family interactions." - Matthew Isaac Sobin, author of The Last Machine in the Solar System
"In this meticulously researched account there are two stories: the history of a Jewish family in the Bavarian-Bohemian border region that became an important player in the German glass industry, until their achievements and almost the family itself were destroyed by the Nazis; and the narrative of a young man searching for his roots. Peter Kupfer's important book shows how the Shoah shaped and still shapes the lives of second- and third-generation survivors and how the children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims nevertheless can come to terms with their family history." - Dr. Sebastian Schott, City Museum and City Archives Weiden (Bavaria)