Cover image for Before deportation : letters from a mother to her daughters, January 1939-December 1942
Before deportation : letters from a mother to her daughters, January 1939-December 1942
Feiner, Hertha, 1896-1943.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Vor der Deportation. English
Publication Information:
Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxvi, 86 pages ; 22 cm.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library DS135.G5 F39413 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Ingeborg Hecht's father, a prosperous Jewish attorney, was divorced from his titled German wife in 1933--two years before the promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws--and so was deprived of what these laws termed "privileged mixed matrimony." He died in Auschwitz. His two children, called "half-Jews," were stripped of their rights, prevented from earning a living, and forbidden to marry.

In Invisible Walls, Hecht writes of what it was like to live under these circumstances, sharing heartbreaking details of her personal life, including the loss of her daughter's father on the Russian front; the death of her own father after his deportation in 1944; and her fears of perishing coupled with the shame of faring better than most of her family and friends. This new volume adds the first translation of part of Hecht's second book, To Remember is to Heal, a collection of vignettes of encounters and experiences that resulted from the publication of the first.

Author Notes

Ingeborg Hecht is the author of many works of German history and is a regular contributor to the German press and radio.

John Brownjohn was awarded the 1998 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The Nuremberg laws were promulgated in 1935, making it clear that the Jews were no longer allowed any part in German life. Each move against the Jews then carried the force of law. Subsequently, the author and her brother were stripped of their rights, prevented from earning a living, and forbidden to marry. Their father was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where he died. The author's daughter's father was killed on the Russian front. Invisible Walls was originally published in Germany in 1984, and To Remember Is to Heal was published in 1991. Hecht describes in vivid detail her life under these appalling conditions: restrictions at school, in seeking work, at restaurants and other public places, and in riding public transportation. She could not own a radio, a pet, a telephone, or a business, and she was forced to wear a Jewish star. Extraordinary accounts of one woman's courage and cunning. --George Cohen

Table of Contents

Invisible Walls
A German Family under the Nuremburg Laws
Author's Note
The Families (1883-1933)
Professional Worries and Domestic Upheavals (1934-1938)
The "Comrades" (1934-1936)
School Days (1935-1937)
Outlook Uncertain (1937-1938)
The First Year of the War (1939)
"Racial Disgrace" and Plans to Emigrate (1940)
The Long Year (1941)
Harassment and Foreboding (1942)
The Final Reunion (1943)
The War Years (1943-1945)
Afterward ...
To Remember Is to Heal
Encounters between Victims of the Nuremberg Laws
Grosse Hamburgerstrasse
The Trip to Hamburg-Rolling Home
"You Will Receive Many Letters of Thanks....": Letters from My Readers and What Resulted from Them
How Others Fared
Encounters and Their Beneficial Effects
The Journey to Amsterdam: The Anne Frank Recognition Award
The "Racial Assessment" of M. B.
My Wanderings through the Brandenburg March

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