Books

Der Apfelbaum (The Apple Tree)

Der Apfelbaum (The Apple Tree) Christian Berkel
Pub date September 2018
Original publisher Ullstein (Germany)
International publishers Fayard (France), Joconda/Mikroscopio (Greece), Mondadori (Italy), A W Bruna (Netherlands), Swiat Ksiazki (Poland), Eksmo (Russia), HarperCollins Iberica (Spain)

 

 

As his mother’s dementia is progressing, Christian Berkel tries to save what is left of his family’s memory. He goes through archives, reads letters and travels around the globe. The missing pieces – of which there are a lot – he has to imagine. The result is an epic family story…

Berlin 1932: Sala and Otto are teenagers, when they fall in love. He belongs to the working class, she is from an intellectual Jewish family. In 1938, Sala has to leave her German homeland and is lodged with her Jewish aunt in Paris until the Germans invade France. While Otto, a medical doctor with the Wehrmacht, is drafted to go to war, Sala’s attempt to escape fails and she is interned in Gurs, a camp in the Pyrenees. A camp in which one either dies fast of hunger or epidemics, or who survives until 1943 she is deported to Auschwitz. But this time Sala is lucky, she is put on a train to Leipzig and goes into hiding. Shortly before the end of the war, Otto falls into Russian captivity. For ten years they do not see each other. But when Sala finds Otto’s name in the phone book, it brings home the fact that she has never stopped thinking about him. An unusual love story that leads the reader across the globe meeting an illustrious cast of characters including Hermann Hesse, Colette, Wallis Simpson, Jean Cocteau and Ernst Bloch.

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