Thursday 3 December 2020

A reminder about one of my most important books

Clara will not be daunted. Her life will not end when her beloved husband dies too young. She will become a second mother to the young children who live away from home in order to visit a rather special school. When life becomes desperate for a particular class of disabled children growing up in Nazi Germany she takes a few risks. Is her ultimate faith in the goodness of human beings a fatal flaw that leads to her tragedy, or is her story actually one of hope?

"Clara's Story: a Holocaust Biography" is the second story in the Schellberg Cycle. It might be described as a tragedy or it might be described as a story of survival. In the end it is up to the reader or even Clara herself to decide.

It is labelled as fiction and it is labelled as biography. Holocaust biography. Historical fiction. It reads like fiction. It engages like fiction. It is written as a novel. But Clara Lehrs really existed, as did many of the characters in the Schellberg Cycle. We have a few, a very few verifiable facts about them. The rest we have had to find out by repeating some of their experiences and by using the careful writer's imagination.

Certainly the Schellberg Cycle examines the stories of several German Jews. Ironically Clara does not consider herself to be Jewish and sees no danger. She possibly needs Holocaust education even more than her readers do. Her dealings with Steiner Education help her to throw a little light on her situation and she becomes engaged in her own form of Holocaust resistance. So, we might even label this Holocaust fiction.


I was unsure of how I would react to this book, as the holocaust is a very real story in our family. However, the social history starting before World War 1 and continuing to the present day, was extremely interesting and Clara herself had the attitude that where there’s hope there’s life. A well-written and thought-provoking book.  


I offer talsk and workshops on this project. Contact me if you are interested. 


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