The Unwanted: My Mother

(Five stars)

The Unwanted is my family story, too.

I have come to know the people in my mother’s small town in Germany — Stockstadt am Rhein — where our family lived for over 200 years. My mother and her sister escaped Germany, but the Nazis murdered my grandparents. Families of both victims and perpetrators continue to wrestle with the legacy of the Holocaust. I’ve written about this subject in several books, as my mother and I have returned to Stockstadt many times to help the town face its history.

In rich detail, Dobbs recreates the devastating experiences of “country Jews” who tried desperately to leave Nazi Germany but had no place to go. At the same time, Dobbs fills in some of the holes in history, explaining the politics and public opinion that prevented the United States from opening its doors to more Jewish refugees. The story resonates today as our government is engaging in restrictive immigration policies and, once again, families are being ripped apart. That trauma affects generations. An important book!