The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between


Apr 5, 2021 | 12:00 pm -

Apr 5, 2021 |

In 1938, on the eve of World War II, the American journalist Dorothy Thompson wrote that “a piece of paper with a stamp on it is the difference between life and death.” A Holocaust story that is both German and American, The Unwanted is the intimate account of Jewish families in a small village on the edge of the Black Forest in desperate pursuit of American visas to flee the Nazis.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, interviews, and visa records, Michael Dobbs provides an illuminating account of America’s response to the refugee crisis of the 1930s and 1940s. Some make it to the United States after battling formidable bureaucratic obstacles, while others are turned back. Some perish along the way, and others are murdered in Auschwitz. With a reporter’s eye for narrative and a historian’s attention to detail and context, Dobbs, a foreign correspondent, gives us a heartbreaking and timely read.

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