Summons to Berlin: Nazi Theft and A Daughter’s Quest for Justice

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In 1993, Joanne Intrator was watching her father’s tortured last moments on earth when he exclaimed to her, “Are you tough enough yet? Do they know who you are”? She was floored by the impassioned words that emanated from her moribund father. Joanne’s parents had been refugees from Germany when the brutal and tyrannical Nazi government took over and began the persecution and internment of Jewish citizens. Joanne’s family had owned a factory in Berlin that had been appropriated by the Nazis in the 1930s as part of the Aryanization of Germany. After the fall of the Third Reich and the ending of the Second World War, Germany began a process of reconciliation with the sins of its past. The parting words of Gerhard Intrator hinted at unfinished business between the Intrators and Germany.

The Intrators had faced anti-Semitism in the past when they lived in Poland. This discrimination reared its ugly head again when the Nazis seized power in 1933. Gerhard’s law school hopes were cut short, while his brother Alex’s music career was derailed. Gerhard feared for the future and well-being of his family. He reluctantly fled and relocated to New York. The survivor’s guilt clung to him for the rest of his life.

The pitched legal battle between Joanne and other parties in getting restitution for the seizure of her family’s factory forms the crux of the book. Joanne must meet with German mediators who explain the intricacies of the case but may be hiding ulterior motives. As the mediation slowly progresses, Joanne’s emotions ebb and flow as the secrets of the past are often reluctant to be exhumed. Her determination never wavers as the injustices visited upon her family and the toll wrought never leave her mind.

Summons to Berlin makes its mark as part history and memoir, as Dr. Joanne Intrator reflects on her family’s past and her attempt to reclaim a stolen part of their history. Intrator’s captivating narrative encompasses her family’s maltreatment at the hands of fellow countrymen leading to some fleeing the country and others meeting a grim fate. Intrator’s poignant memories of her family’s predicament coincide with her uphill climb in gaining reparations against an often stubborn German legal system. The atrocities committed by the Nazis still resound nearly a century removed as future generations attempt to understand and learn from an often troubled history. Joanne Intrator’s heartfelt book illustrates how to not only come to terms with the past but also how to persevere against herculean odds.

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Author Joanne Intrator
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher She Writes Press
Publish Date 01-Aug-2023
ISBN 9781647425135 Buy this Book
Issue August 2023
Category Biographies & Memoirs