The Luck of the Weissensteiners
(A Three Nation Trilogy)
This is a `Tale of Two Families' living their lives in the era up to and during World War 2. Life is simple but always a struggle--and it is about to grow worse. No one really sees the evil heading their way, in fact most people are in denial as the Plague of Anti-Semitism creeps across Europe like a deadly fog, overtaking country after country, leaving only death and devastation in its wake. The hatred infects everyone, turns friend against friend, family against family, husband against wife. Even entire Governments corrupt and will do anything to save themselves. Mr. Fischer has created a brilliant historical novel that is still too close for comfort and some of us may find difficult to read. The Weissensteiners are a Jewish family of weavers. They are masters of their craft and create exquisite tapestries that hang on the walls of the Nobles' castles and the home of one Countess in particular. Greta is one of two daughters and a son that make up Jonah Weissensteiner's family. When she meets her prince, Wilhelm Winkelemeier, a clerk in the local book store, Greta is swept off her feet and soon becomes pregnant. Eventually they marry, not knowing how this event will radically affect both of their families. Wilhelm is the first to bail out. Encouraged by his mother he takes their first born blond Aryan-looking son to cousins in Berlin, leaving a pregnant and trusting Greta with his family. Wilhelm's family,the Winkelemeiers, are farmers and as the Czechoslovakian government falls to the Nazis they see nothing wrong with expanding their holdings with confiscated Jewish neighbors' land. This all sets the stage for the greed, cruelty, persecution of not only the Jews, but Gypsies, homosexuals, and even the mentally ill. Mr. Fischer includes everyone in his tale of terror about man's inhumanity to man. But the pain and humiliation does not stop after the war. Families and friends are separated and moved around Europe like so much chattel. Even though I knew the characters are not real but drawn in Mr. Fischer's fertile imagination I found myself crying with these people in their misery, and then admiring them for their commitment to life, to their children, their families and friends. I could not stop reading this book, I wanted to know the next move of every character, especially Greta, and I highly recommend it to everyone. As a child I was raised in England. We had lots of air raids and rationing and discomfort but compared to what the European Jews and all the Displaced Persons suffered in those years, we were living in luxury. In my mind, dying once was not enough for those evil men who perpetrated these crimes against the minds, bodies, and souls of an entire race of Jewish men, women and children.
Mary Firmin, author Deadly Pleasures.