It’s always exciting when a new story you’ve labored over for months… and months finally makes its debut… like a Broadway show opening out of town.
Philadelphia has had its share of out-of-town openings, so it’s only fitting THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN with my Philly debutante heroine had its opening this weekend on NetGalley.
To celebrate, I pulled out memorabilia from Berlin… my red cloche hat and red leather driving gloves… Berlin postcards.
And three of my favorite dolls that I carried around in a special pink trunk when I was a kid every time we moved.
Doll friends I could hang with since I was always the new kid in school (I went to 15). I’d eventually make friends, but these 3 ‘sisters’ were always there for me as they are today when I introduce you to the three Landau Sisters during WW2, Jewish girls in danger when the Nazis come to power…
Rachel, Leah, and Tovah.
Through a twist of fate, their fate is changed forever by Kay Alexander, a candy heiress with a dark secret that haunts her. Kay has no idea what’s in store for her when she visits Berlin in 1937… once she meets the Landau family, she’ll do anything to help them survive.
I spent part of a summer in Berlin years ago, visiting the city’s museums and shopping on the Ku’Damm, but the most memorable part was visiting East Berlin before the wall came down. I remember what the hotel clerk told me when I asked him for directions to Checkpoint Charlie. ‘They’ve forgotten how to smile,’ he said. I didn’t understand then what he meant until I was lost in that world of gray between East and West like a lost shadow.
During WW2, the Landau Sisters also forget how to smile as their freedoms are slowly taken from them because they are Jewish. In The Orphans of Berlin, you’ll meet Rachel and watch her grow up during the 1930s until the day her parents make the hardest decision a family should never have to make.
To send her and her sisters away… so they may live.
But how? Will they survive? Where will they go? Find out in THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN.
If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like to request an ARC here’s the NetGalley info:
THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN
(The video above takes place on a train in 1944 Germany — my heroine, Angeline, is very pregnant and on her way back to Auschwitz with two SS guards…)
Nothing is more heartbreaking than holding a newborn baby in your arms and it doesn’t cry.
The anguish, holding your breath while you wait for that first sign of life, the tears that fall upon your cheeks as you pray for that lovely, beautiful cry.
Then… a burst from the baby’s lungs and a heart-swelling joy overcomes you when the infant’s wail fills the air like an angels’ choir.
But what if you’re pregnant and imprisoned in a concentration camp in Southern Germany? A place where American soldiers were so devastated by the horror they found when they neared the camp, they wept when they liberated Dachau on April 29, 1945.
They discovered more than thirty railroad cars filled with dead bodies.
What if you were imprisoned there? Would you have lived? The odds were against you if you were a soon-to-be-mother.
It’s well documented the chances for survival for pregnant women and their babies in the camps was practically zero. They were immediately singled out for execution when they arrived.
It pains me to write this, but Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, was determined to exterminate all Jewish children (he proclaimed his policy in a secret speech in Poland on October 6, 1943).
As many as 1.5 million Jewish children died in the Holocaust.
Thanks to survivors’ stories and seven Jewish mothers from Hungary, we have the miracle of the Dachau babies. How for reasons never made clear, these mothers were allowed to live and brought to a sub-camp of Dachau in the waning days of the war known as Kaufering I.
And how under horrific conditions (no hot water, no instruments for the prisoner/doctor), they delivered seven healthy babies from December 1944 to April 1945 when fate stepped in and dealt them a cruel blow… I shan’t spoil it for you, but I promise you, I followed these events as they happened in ‘The Lost Girl in Paris’.
My heroine, Angéline de Cadieux, was there and very pregnant.
How did this Frenchwoman born Roma find herself in a concentration camp with Hungarian mothers-to-be? It was a challenge to orchestrate the series of events that bring her there… counting the days of her pregnancy in Paris, being honest to the unsanitary, degrading conditions found in the camps, the treatment of Roma by the Third Reich. Few have written about the Roma Holocaust and how anywhere from 220,000 to half a million Romani people died at the hands of the Nazis.
I admit it was a tremendous undertaking bringing all this to my story. I spent many sleepless nights trying to bring justice to these unbelievable women who not only survived the camps, but had the courage to tell their stories.
I have tried to tell one woman’s story albeit fiction, but everything Angéline de Cadieux experiences in the camps is based on truth.
So, my friends, cry as I did, become angry these events ever happened, but most of all, never forget.
THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS is now available across all platforms.
Available in e-book, print and audio
The Lost Girl in Paris universal link: https://books2read.com/u/3LyrdN
It’s the story of woman who survived both Auschwitz and Dachau, but never spoke about it until she meets a young reporter named Emma Keane who touches a nerve in her that now is the time to speak about those times. Her memories are as vivid to this eighty-year-old as if she were the seventeen-year-old girl who ran away to Paris to become a parfumier after losing her mother to the Nazi war machine.
I wrote THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS to pay tribute to the strong women who survived the Holocaust and willingly shared their stories with us. The horror of Nazi brutality, the loss of family, their dignity… but also about their strength just to ‘survive another day’.
And the strong bonds with their sisters-in-arms they formed with fellow prisoners. How they learned to trust each other and stood up against the enemy to save each other.
We must never forget.
Here is a second short excerpt from THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS:
The LOST GIRL IN PARIS is part of the ‘Get Inspired’ promotion in UK, AU, and NZ
Date to be Published: March 8, 2021
Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers
A promise keeps them apart until WWII threatens to destroy their love forever
Fonzaso Italy, between two wars
Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.
When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.
As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…
A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.
Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.
About The Author
Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.
In 2006, after the birth of her daughter, Jennifer suffered a life-threatening post-partum cardiomyopathy, and soon after, her Italian grandmother died. This tumultuous year strengthened her desire to capture the stories of her female Italian ancestors.
In 2012, she moved with her family to Milan, Italy and Chicago Parent Magazine published her article, It’s In the Journey, chronicling the benefits of travelling the world with children. Later, she moved to London where she has held leadership positions in brand marketing with companies including ABInbev, Revlon, Shiseido and Tory Burch.
Jennifer is a graduate of Illinois State University where she was a Chi Omega and holds a master’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago.
Under the Light of the Italian Moon is her first novel, based on the lives of her Italian grandmother and great grandmothers during the rise of fascism and World War II.
Review the book at Amazon.com, Goodreads, and Bookbub
Connect with Jennifer on Instagram @boldwomanwriting
Connect with Jennifer on Facebook @jenniferantonauthorpage
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