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Address Unknown

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  6,272 ratings  ·  910 reviews
A rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938 and now an international bestseller.When it first appeared in Story magazine in 1938, Address Unknown became an immediate social phenomenon and literary sensation. Published in book form a year later and banned in Nazi Germany, it garnered high praise in the United States and much of Europe.

A series of fictional

Paperback, 64 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Washington Square Press (first published 1938)
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Angie Fehl Griselle is a stage actress whose show takes her across Europe. Griselle is Jewish and at one point her production takes her to Berlin, perhaps one of…moreGriselle is a stage actress whose show takes her across Europe. Griselle is Jewish and at one point her production takes her to Berlin, perhaps one of the most unsafe places for a Jew during World War 2, what with Nazi occupied Germany. (less)

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  6,272 ratings  ·  910 reviews

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Reading this article in The Guardian last week, which praises Address unknown as an anti-Nazi-novel that saw into the future, I admit I am frightened that the author is right concluding that the novel’s prescience is not confined to its time and saw into our own future too. In hindsight, it is this chilling perspective which makes the novel even more worth reading at present.

As originally published in 1938, this is a striking document as Kathrine Kressmann Taylor wrote on ordinary,
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Words have power. We readers know that as we find ourselves moved to tears, beside ourselves with outrage, or smiling at the foibles of our fellow humans – and ourselves.

Spoken words have power, too. Charismatic leaders and fanatic leaders know this, and know exactly how to put their words across to increase their own power. Generating and maintaining fear is one way to do it; taking credit for improvements that are actually the result of a previous leader’s efforts is common; and so is
Aqsa (On Hiatus)
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aqsa (On Hiatus) by: Jaline
Read for March Reading Sprint-2019 in Buddy Reads.

Believe me, you do not want to miss this book. It’s just 40 pages long and just read it.

“This modern story is perfection itself. It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.”

The New York Times Book Review

This is written in the form of letters (which are easy to get into) between a Jew (Max) living in America and his best friend and partner (Martin) who has returned to Germany. You see how Nazi poison got hold of Martin and
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Flannery by: Elizabeth
I am updating this because it referenced a review that is no longer available on GR. (the reader removed her profile a few years back) Anyway, I was browsing Goodreads back in 2012 and saw a review for this book from someone with amazing taste in books. I'd never heard of the book before but she rarely gave books five stars so I was intrigued. I immediately put it on hold at my library and read it as soon as I got home. I was skeptical about the claims made about the book, including the front ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars and more if I could give them. This was so cleverly written! So much is said in a few pages. I'm impressed.
It's a correspondence between a Jewish American and his former business partner who has returned to Germany. In the letters you read how the business partner turns to Nazism.
Jon Nakapalau
Follow the banality of evil through this exchange of between the lines and find one of the best horror stories ever.
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Address Unknown by Kressman Taylor is an amazing little book.

The narrative consists of a series of letters exchanged between Max, a Jewish man living in California, and Martin, his German business partner and close family friend, recently returned to Germany; and this correspondence takes place shortly before Hitler takes power.

I noted that I had added this book to my"To Read" list on Jan 01st 2012 and only got around to reading it on Dec 30th 2012. Boy! did I leave the best wine until last.
Meredith Holley
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my supervising attorneys is 88 years old. He basically helped invent tort law in Oregon and has been influential in anything you can name. The governor comes by to get his opinion on judicial appointments and whatnot, and in his prime, he was called "the prince of torts."

In my first week of working for him, he called me into his office. When he was 14 years old, he told me, the young men of military age had all gone off to war. This left the boys like him and the old men to work in the
Diane S ☔
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Found this little book and was absolutely astonished at how much it accomplished in so few pages. Friends and partners, one Jewish, one German and the letters they sent back and forth from Germany to the United States, show the rise of Hitler and the changing viewpoints of the Germans as they came to accept them as their leader and hope for the future. Loved the way revenge was taken at the end of the book. Heartfelt and poignant.
Lisa Vegan
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody, especially those interested in history & social justice, like twist endings
Recommended to Lisa by: Chrissie
The edition I read has a wonderfully informative foreword by the author’s son. The foreword does give some information that gave me a clue as to what was coming in the story, but it didn’t really contain any spoilers.

A few of my Goodreads’ friends have read this story recently and their reviews and comments definitely piqued me interest.

So, wow! This story was published first in 1938, and I can see why it’s a classic.

I can’t remember the last time I so enjoyed a story, in this case told via
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Powerful short story. Read it in half an hour, then went back to re-read most of it. Elegantly done as a series of short letters with a brutal twist - for both writers.

It's the story of two friends in America, one Jewish, one German, who own a gallery together. When the German returns home in 1933 things happen, relationships alter, and history overlays and rewrites friendships in unthinkable ways.

When I questioned my mother about this time period - she was born in 1923 - she said they didn't
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I understand the significance of this story being published in late 1938, I found it hard to believe in the characters, so I never got invested in the story. Perhaps if I hadn't predicted the ending (or something similar to it), I might've felt differently.
Jill Hutchinson
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing and disturbing little book....only 64 pages long, it packs a punch in every page. First published in 1938 and banned in Nazi Germany when released, it is comprised of letters between two friends. One is a Jewish man living in the US and the other is his Gentile partner in their art gallery who has, with his family, returned home to Germany just as Hitler is coming to power. As the book progresses, the change in the tone and content of the letters will chill your soul and the ...more
Thomas Hübner
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Address Unknown is a short epistolary novella with a fascinating plot and a strong message; it was first published in 1938 and its author, Kressmann Taylor, is today almost forgotten.

Max and Martin own a successful art gallery in San Francisco. They are not only business partners but best friends. The bachelor Max is a frequent and welcome guest at Martin's home and quasi a member of the family; the delicate situation that Max' sister and Martin have an affair

Listen here:

Publication date 2008-06-20
Topics BBC Radio Drama, Afternoon Play
Language English
Dramatisation of the 1938 novel.

It is 1938 and two old friends, former business associates in San Francisco, exchange letters. One is an American German Jew, the other an American German who, excited and energised by the new Germany of the 1930s, has gone home. Attitudes harden with the seemingly inexorable rise of Hitler,
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Dennis Jacob Rosenfeld
I had never heard of either Address Unknown or its author, Kathrine Taylor, who published under the pseudonym Kressmann Taylor. This short story first appeared in a magazine in 1938, revealing the brutality of the Nazis against the Jews and anyone who opposed them in the slightest. But the heart of the story is how a heretofore tolerant, liberal German could gradually be seduced by omnipresent propaganda and the over-the-top promises of an authoritarian strongman.

Address Unknown has been
It was interesting to read this short story in letter form about the sudden and violent rise in antisemitism in Germany in the 1930's while reading Russell Hoban's Pilgermann at the same time. Pilgermann recounts the story of a very bizarre and dreamlike excursion accross Europe and accross centuries in search of an answer to the same question of antisemitism. But these two books are very different. And yet, there are similarities. Pilgermann is weighed down with masses of Hieryonimus Bosch type ...more
Lyn Elliott
A brilliant short story written as an exchange of letters between a Jewish American and his former business partner who returns to Germany from the U.S. in 1933.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A chilling artifact from 1938, given new relevancy with the rise of fascism (and the benign response to such) in this country currently. Really not even a novella, but a short story that packs an emotional wallop.
Lianne - Literary Diversions
Review to come. As soon as I can breathe.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Originally published in 1938, The New York Times Book Review hailed it as "the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction." In 1995, a year before the author died, it was reissued and gained the status of an American classic. After her death, it became a bestseller in Europe.

The novel is epistolary and roughly based on real-life experiences of the author. Two very close friends and business partners in San Francisco, California, a Jew and a German. The latter, a kind,
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An American Jew and a German are best of friends and partners in a rather successful art gallery in the US. The time is just before the outbreak of WWII, when Germany is under great economic stress as a result of the penalties and constraints placed upon it after WWI. The German returns to his homeland where he has bought a huge new family home with his newfound wealth. The tale unfolds in the form of a series of letters between the two. Great premise but the book is way too short. Due to the ...more
A Girl Has No Name
4 stars - A short story that everybody should consider reading!

I read this book back in school and when I found a beautiful edition at the flea market last weekend, I just had to buy it. I couldn’t remember all the details of the story, but I definitely remembered the strong emotions this story managed to arouse in me.

Written in 1938, Undress Unknown was one of the first fictional books focusing on the raising Nazi-Regime in Germany. It consists of letters exchanged between Max Eisenstein,
classic reverie
I can see why this was an eye opener for the Americans and I had come across this book from an OTR (old time radio) quiz program called Information Please (1940); when a question about the book was asked to the panel. I found it disturbing and just a glimpse at what atrocities that happened in Germany at that time but I also found it disturbing that after Martin told of his family's problems after his coded letters, his friend did not end them. He was his friend and doing away with him would not ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shared history.
Divergent lives.
Nazi Germany.


A business partner and his family returns to Germany. It is 1932 and the country looks like it starting to move after the damages of WWI. The book is a series of letter between Martin in Germany and Max (a Jew) in San Fransisco. The book is very brief but ends in a carefully crafted revenge.
Martin is full of hope and becomes very pro-Hitler. Max becomes worried that Martin is changing and becomes frantic when his sister arrives in Germany. The historical timing of the writing and release of
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An utter masterpiece - the kind of novel(la) that you just thank providence for putting in your path. An epistolry tale of the correspondence between a German in Germany and a Jew in the US in the build up to World War II (and indeed written prior to the outbreak). That Ms Kressmann Taylor saw the writing on the wall is impressive but is not the reason for the book's greatness. Rather the breathtaking skill by which the plot and characterisation creeps out through the interchange of letters like ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extremely quick read, easily read in one sitting. What is amazing about this book is that it came out so early - in 1938, first in the magazine Story! It is about the holocaust, the consequences of a few letters between a Jew in San Francisco and a friend in Germany. How did it happen that the Germans believed in Hitler? How can long term friendship be so quickly stamped out? And what could be the consequences of just a few letters?
Lewis Weinstein
A brilliant story with an incredible ending. I will say no more.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read about this forgotten book on Lithub this week so I requested it from the library.

Written by a female author in 1938, her husband insisted that she publish it under a pen name. Today it is considered a classic of fiction about Nazi Germany.

This epistolary novel (really only a short story) can be read in a half hour or less. The letters are written between two men who are friends and business partners. One of them has moved back to Germany and undergoes changes as a result of Hitler’s
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Born Kathrine Kressmann, she married Elliott Taylor in 1928. Her first and most famous book, "Address unknown", was initially published by Story magazine. As both the editor and her husband deemed the story "too strong to appear under the name of a woman", she took on the pseudonym Kressman Taylor, which she used for the rest of her professional life.
“But there is another realm where we can always find something true, the fireside of a friend, where we shed our little conceits and find warmth and understanding, where small selfishnesses are impossible and where wine and books and talk give a different meaning to existence.
There we have made something that no falseness can touch. We are at home.”
“We are vain and we are dishonest because it is necessary to triumph over other vain and dishonest persons.” 4 likes
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