Two Personal Notes
Most of our “fan mail” comes through the Internet but this month we received two unusual hand-written notes. From the students at Marsha Hebden’s World War II class at El Cerrito High School (California), we were thanked for taking the time to talk with them and read from Stumbling Stone. “Hearing your story really adds to the richness of this class. I will never forget your story,” said one student.
A touching card from an older reader really moved us. She said, “When I finished Stumbling Stone I had no words to express the beauty of the story…you told the reality of one family I felt I knew.”
Stumbling Stone is a story for our time
“The more a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it,” George Orwell reminded us. This book illustrates both the lengths the writers go to reveal the truth and the importance of why truth must be spoken of, past and present. Stumbling Stone is a story for our time.”
Robert Maurer, President, New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (retired)
History is filled with unexpected surprises
“Who would have imagined that the son of a high-ranking Nazi and a Jewish reporter from the Bronx would end up sharing their lives? History is filled with unexpected surprises and Stumbling Stone- a riveting story fueled by mystery and suspense-reveals how everyday life affected the children of Nazis, as well as Germans who became victims of the Holocaust. A rare, fascinating and enthralling historical tale.”
Ruth Rosen, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Davis
“I’m pressed for time and expected to read it over a couple of weeks of casual reading, but found it hard to put down. I also enjoyed the occasional injections of humor. which leavened what otherwise could be a very heavy topic. It’s hard to imagine laughing out loud at times after delving into questions about collective German guilt, Jewish prejudices (against Germans), and things like that, but I did and expect you will too. A nice break, and laughter is good for the soul.”
Prof. Martin Hellman, Stanford University.
Four stars on Goodreads
“I just finished this book, and was a little sad it wasn’t longer! The voices throughout feel very authentic. It was a moving look at WWII from yet another viewpoint, one I haven’t seen in other novels on the subject. The characters exploring their families roles in WWII are able to tell a story of their heritage while also looking deeply into themselves so many decades later.”
” It was a page-turner…The visit to Germany was a real eye-opener”
I finished Stumbling Stone yesterday and really appreciated and enjoyed it. It was a page-turner, for sure! The visit to Germany was a real eye-opener for me, as I, like your character Sarah, have over the years not thought very deeply about German people, history or culture beyond the Nazi atrocities, and until recently would never consider even visiting. Reading the book, I felt as though I was going with them, and held my breath every time it looked like they would discover something about Karl’s father or uncle… It is so amazing to me that so many years later there are stories still out there to be shared, each of them unique and heartrending.. I now can imagine Germany apart from my upbringing. Your book…helped with that tremendously.
Alana Shindler. Berkley, California.
“…thank God someone put it into a book”
I looked up your book and read the back of it. I immediately ordered it because, I couldn’t wait to read it. …All of a sudden, I just teared up uncontrollably. So many memories I thought I had forgotten., I had actually buried them so deeply, they finally came streaming out. All of a sudden I remembered all the pain of those years in my past…. As I wipe away the tears, I think to myself , thank God someone put it into a book so I could read your stories and put my past to rest.
Trudy Herrell, born in Germany 1944, emigrated to the U.S. 1950.
“…powerfully portray the way traumatic legacies are inherited”
If our parents do not reveal their stories to us, we are forced to invent them. How does one integrate a legacy of perpetration and victimization in the face of such deafening silence? As a psychotherapist who has worked extensively with historical and generational trauma, I found that Raab and Freestone powerfully portray the way traumatic legacies are inherited and how, if not properly mourned and processed, can come back to haunt us in future generations. The gripping narrative and moral questions raised make Stumbling Stone an important and accessible contribution to our understanding and the complexity of WWII and its aftermath.
Armand Volkas, Psychotherapist
Founder and Director, Healing the Wounds of History
“…saving their collective stories from the silences of history”
Rudi Raab is a retired California cop, a medieval scholar and a German emigre. He and his life partner, Julie Freestone, a Jewish journalist with her own family memories, methodically uncover the unspoken mysteries of his father, a high-ranking official of the Nazi Party, and his uncle, a forgotten Gestapo victim in whose memory the authors embarked on this ambitious act of memory, research and witness. Every historical atrocity leaves relatives of both perpetrators and victims; this one has both — in one household. They have performed an important service in saving their collective stories from the silences of history.
Peter Y. Sussman, author/journalist
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