Michael Wolffsohn’s paternal grandfather Karl was a leading light of the Berlin entertainment industry—but in 1939 he was forced into exile and immigrated to Palestine. Justus Saalheimer, Wolffsohn’s maternal grandfather, was interned in Dachau in November 1938. Following his release in February 1939, he also immigrated to Palestine along with his family. Michael Wolffsohn’s father Max met his wife Thea Saalheimer in Tel-Aviv and the couple returned to Germany in the 1950s, embarking on a new life in the land of their former oppressors. Though much of the family had been lucky to survive the Holocaust, it was to be the beginning of a protracted struggle for the restitution of property misappropriated by the Nazis.
Is it possible to reconcile oneself with Germany’s past and live as the proud German-Jewish patriot Michael Wolffsohn describes himself as? How did his career as scientist and writer evolve? His ever-provocative, radical theories invariably led to his being targeted by both left- and right-wingers in Germany, while his public persona and the fact that he married out of faith meant he was also long considered an enfant terrible by the Jewish establishment.
This book tells the story of three generations of a widely extended Jewish family—from the early 20th century to their present identity as modern-day Judeo-Christians.