A memoir, Motherland follows a young mother’s pilgrimage into her family’s history, as author Fern Schumer Chapman uneasily accompanies her mother, Edith, a Holocaust escapee, on a baffling visit to the German village her mother left at the age of 12. Edith, the youngest member of the town’s only remaining Jewish family, was sent alone and terrified to America to escape the Nazis. Nearly half a century later, mother and daughter return to the village and gradually realize that no one has escaped the shame, guilt and lingering scars of the war.
Is It Night or Day?, a work of historical fiction, is a prequel to Motherland. In 1938 — torn away from her family and friends, her village in Germany, and everything she has ever known — 12-year-old Edith Westerfeld travels alone to distant America as her parents struggle to follow her in escaping the Nazis.
Sent to live with a hostile aunt who makes Edith a virtual servant, the girl desperately seeks to understand who she is in this new world. One girl’s journey from child refugee to American teenager mirrors and illuminates the struggle of every immigrant child as Edith searches for a new identity through school, friends, and even baseball.
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