Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival

By Daniel Finkelstein

THE INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

Winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2023

‘Epic, moving and important’ ROBERT HARRIS

‘A modern classic’ OBSERVER

‘An unforgettable epic of a book’ DAILY MAIL

From longstanding political columnist and commentator Daniel Finkelstein, a powerful memoir exploring both his mother and his father’s devastating experiences of persecution, resistance and survival during the Second World War.

Daniel’s mother Mirjam Wiener was the youngest of three daughters born in Germany to Alfred and Margarete Wiener. Alfred, a decorated hero from the Great War, is now widely acknowledged to have been the first person to recognise the existential danger Hitler posed to the Jews and began, in 1933, to catalogue in detail Nazi crimes. After moving his family to Amsterdam, he relocated his library to London and was preparing to bring over his wife and children when Germany invaded the Netherlands. Before long, the family was rounded up, robbed and sent to starve in Bergen-Belsen.

Daniel’s father Ludwik was born in Lwów, the only child of a prosperous Jewish family. In 1939, after Hitler and Stalin carved up Poland, Ludwik’s father was arrested and sentenced to hard labour in the Gulag. Meanwhile, deported to Siberia and working as a slave labourer on a collective farm, Ludwik survived the freezing winters in a tiny house he built from cow dung.

Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad is a deeply moving, personal and at times horrifying memoir about Finkelstein’s parents’ experiences at the hands of the two genocidal dictators of the twentieth century. It is a story of persecution; survival; and the consequences of totalitarianism told with the almost unimaginable bravery of two ordinary families shining through.

‘Danny Finkelstein has written an elegant, moving account of the history of one family, and in doing so shines light on the history of the 20th century. If you want to understand Hitler and Stalin, read this book about people whose lives were upended by both of them’ ANNE APPLEBAUM, author of Gulag: A History, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Format: ebook
Release Date: 08 Jun 2023
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-848386-9
Daniel Finkelstein is a British journalist and opinion writer. A former executive editor of The Times, he continues to write for the paper. He has been Political Columnist of the Year four times and recently joined the board of Chelsea Football Club. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2013.

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR -

Winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2023 -

”'Captivating . . . Superb. This is a beautiful book about a horrific time when life was cheap and cruelty abundant. It took possession of me. I read it quickly, but then couldn’t stop thinking or talking about the Finkelstein and Wiener families” - The Times

‘This is a masterful tale, haunting, elegiac, at times joyful and humorous. It is a history, a commentary, and a thriller, alternating between the suffering at the hands of the Germans and the Soviets’ -

Financial Times -

”'Powerful and beautifully written. Once the second world war breaks out the book works like a thriller, as both families race against the clock to escape certain death. But there are bigger themes running through Finkelstein’s writing, elevating Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad to the status of A modern classic - and just as deserving of acclaim as Philippe Sands’s East West Street or Edmund de Waal’s The Hare With Amber Eyes, both of which used inventive ways to examine the Holocaust afresh” - Observer

”'Superb. Finkelstein is a versatile writer who has delivered an exciting story of courage and persistence, powered by a sense of filial duty and engagingly sustained over its hundreds of pages” - Daily Telegraph

‘Profoundly moving . . . This is a vital addition to the literature of two catastrophes of the 20th century. With great clarity and wisdom he demonstrates what evil politics can do. There is not a word of padding. The prose, distilled into what is both true and interesting, can sometimes be disarmingly simple’ -

Spectator -

‘A masterpiece. This book will be read for generations as a classic’ -

Jewish Chronicle -

‘By far the best book published this year’ -

Peter Hitchens -