London’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas

Past Events

Rita Goldberg Growing up with the Holocaust
Rita Goldberg , Chair: Hester Abrams
Sunday, 23 February 2014

Experience the event as it happened:

Gallery Audio

Hilde Jacobsthal was brought up in Amsterdam, spent World War Two on the run and met her future husband in liberated Bergen-Belsen where she worked as a nurse. A close family friend was Otto Frank, father of Anne; Hilde was one of the first to tell him his family had perished.

Motherland: Growing up with the Holocaust is Rita Goldberg’s coming to terms with her mother’s dramatic early life, allowing her to acknowledge her ghosts. 

Rita Goldberg was born in Basel in 1949 and raised mostly in the US, with two early years in Germany.  She taught literature at Essex and Cambridge for nearly ten years.   She teaches comparative literature part-time at Harvard, where her British-born husband, Oliver Hart, is a professor of economics. They have two sons, both born in Cambridge, England, and two grandsons.  Rita, who is German-speaking, always knew her mother’s story of survival.  She and her younger sisters were haunted, even daunted, by it.  Writing this family memoir allowed her to confront that power and to acknowledge her ghosts.

Hester Abrams is Director of Jewish Book Week.

In association with Second Generation Network

To buy books featured in this event please click hereTen per cent of all sale proceeds will go to Jewish Book Week, supporting the festival for future years.


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Unable to appear at a scheduled event, Etgar Keret sends his best to Jewish Book Week.