Reluctant Return

Reluctant Return

A Survivor’s Journey to an Austrian Town
David W. Weiss
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/22/1999
ISBN: 978-0-253-11278-1
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This beautifully written memoir, which shifts smoothly from past to present as it blends memory and contemporary experience, is a story that will resonate with any sensitive Jew. [The book] intrigues and challenges, transcends the personal and becomes a universal statement." —Hadassah Magazine

In an astonishing and moving document, Weiss... describes his 1995 return trip to the Austrian hometown from which, as a boy, he fled Nazi persecution in 1938..... [T]his soul-searching odyssey... will reward readers of all faiths." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A powerful and unusually eloquent memoir of a prominent Austrian Holocaust survivor invited back to face... old ghosts and demons.... An intelligent and profound memoir." —Kirkus Reviews

David Weiss is an eminent biomedical scientist, now living in Israel. But in 1938 he was an 11-year-old boy in Austria who dramatically escaped the Nazis with his family. For some 56 years Weiss held a deep and abiding enmity for everything Austrian and German. Reluctant Return is his account of his emotional return to his hometown of Wiener Neustadt, the remarkable Christian group that brought it about, and the visit’s surprising echoes and consequences.

Author Bio

Born to an old and distinguished Jewish family in Austria, David W. Weiss fled as a child with his parents and sister from Nazi persecution, reaching the United States in 1939. He earned a Ph.D. in microbiology at Rutgers University and a D. Phil. in medicine from Oxford University. A former professor of bacteriology and immunology at the University of California Berkeley, in 1966 he immigrated to Israel, where he founded and directed the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In addition to numerous publications in biomedical science, Weiss is the author of works on Jewish law and philosophy, including The Wings of the Dove: Jewish Values, Science, and Halachah.

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Table of Contents

1. A Call from Helmuth Eiwen
2. Ichthys: A Mission
3. Uli's Visions
4. Return? Nunc Mas
5. Guardian Angel as Starshina
6. Roots and Specters
7. The Tactics of Remembrance
8. Encounter at the Holyland
9. A Thousand Years in a Blood-stained Land
10. Wiener Neustadt, March 1938, and Escape
11. Berkeley to Jerusalem
12. Pater Johannes Vrbecky
13. Hillel and Yair Sign On
14. The Week of Return: Wiener Neustadt, May 1995
Sunday Giving in Too Easily?
Monday Where the Temple Stood
Tuesday Marianne Neuber: "How Can I Not Tell Them?"
Wednesday Landscape and Memory
Thursday A Day with Ichthys; The Wings of the Dove
Friday Seven Centuries, Four Generations—Welcome, the Sabbath, the Queen
Saturday Stunned by These Days
Sunday At Sauerbrunn the Wild Strawberries Are Gone
Monday Last Breakfast at the Neukloster
15. What the Pastor of Ichthys Has Caught in His Net
16. When One Stands Face to Face