Cover image for And the world closed its doors : the story of one family abandoned to the Holocaust
And the world closed its doors : the story of one family abandoned to the Holocaust
Large, David Clay.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 278 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.G5 S35755 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this masterpiece of Holocaust literature, David Clay Large tells the wrenching story of Max Schohl, a German Jew who, in the midst of the Second World War, could not find a government that would allow his family to immigrate, despite wealth, education, and business and family connections. After repeated but fruitless efforts to gain entry first to the United States and then to Britain, Chile, and Brazil, Max died in Auschwitz and his wife and daughters were sent to hard labor in Wiesbaden.Much has been written about the West's unwillingness to attempt the rescue of tens of thousands of European Jews from the hands of the Nazis; now David Clay Large gives a human face to this tragedy of bureaucratic inertia and ill will. The youngest daughter of the Schohl family, today a seventy-four-year-old widow living in Charleston, South Carolina, has opened her family's records to Large: a unique collection of family letters and other documents chronicling the experiences of the Schohls and those who tried to bring them to England and America. From these papers Large has fashioned a gripping and intimate narrative of one family's efforts to escape the Holocaust in Europe and the inadequate response from abroad.

Author Notes

David Clay Large is a professor of History at Montana State University.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Max Schohl's family, including his wife and two teenage daughters, fled Germany for Yugoslavia in 1940. As a Jew, Max was no longer permitted to live and work in his own country. In 1942, Schohl was deported to Auschwitz, where he died the following year. His wife and daughters were sent back to Germany to work as slave laborers. They survived and finally were able to emigrate to the U.S. after World War II. Schohl's youngest daughter, Kathe, now 79 and living in Charleston, West Virginia, provided Large with letters and other documents chronicling the family's efforts to escape. Much of the book is in the form of letters, many of them between Max Schohl and Rudolf Hess. Large describes Germany in the 1920s and 1930s by saying "What I try to do in this narrative is to attach a specific human face and voice to the otherwise bloodless record of political calculations and bureaucratic regulations." More clearly than many other books, Large's account depicts the tragic abandonment of the Jews by Western nations. --George Cohen

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xv
1 Maxp. 1
2 "No Entry for Jews"p. 25
3 Paper Wallsp. 53
4 "The Night of the Crystals"p. 91
5 High Hopes and Hot Tearsp. 117
6 The Last Trialp. 167
Epiloguep. 217
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 257
Indexp. 265