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Rien où poser sa tête

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,777 ratings  ·  445 reviews
En 1921, Françoise Frenkel, une jeune femme passionnée par la langue et la culture françaises, fonde la première librairie française de Berlin, "La Maison du Livre".
Rien où poser sa tête raconte son itinéraire : contrainte en 1939 de fuir l'Allemagne, où il est devenu impossible de diffuser livres et journaux français, elle gagne la France, où elle espère trouver refuge.
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published October 15th 2015 by Gallimard (first published 1945)
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Curlysloppy She wrote the memoir right after the war. Maybe it was just too painful to write about, knowing he died at Auschwitz.
Stephen Savage The version on (read by Jilly Bond) is wonderful – excellent French pronunciation, and really PERFORMED, not just read. Also available str…moreThe version on (read by Jilly Bond) is wonderful – excellent French pronunciation, and really PERFORMED, not just read. Also available streaming at most public libraries. (less)
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
This autobiography/memoir was recently rediscovered. It is a treasure and so incredibly powerful.

In the 1920s, Francoise Frenkel is a Jewish woman born in Poland and now living in Berlin. She opens a French bookshop, Berlin’s first of its kind. It’s not just any bookshop, though. Intellectuals meet here until the Nazis begin to gain more control.

Then come the rules and laws, more police visits to the shop, and finally, books are taken away.

In 1938, Kristallnacht happens. Hundreds of Jewish busi
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BBC Radio 4-Book of the Week
"No Place to Lay One's Head" by Francoise Frenkel

This is a review of a BBC Radio Broadcast.

This wartime memoir was published in 1945. Rediscovered in a flea market in Nice in 2010, we get to travel with Francoise Frenkel on her quest to escape persecution and travel to safety.

Polish born Francoise, of Jewish descent, was educated in France. She loved books, gently caring for them. In 1921, she opened a French bookstore in Berlin. The bookstore was frequented by women,
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Françoise Frenkel always loved books, libraries, and especially bookstores.

Her dream was to open a bookstore, but would her dream about opening a French bookstore in Berlin in 1920 be a good idea?

She was successful until 1935 when the police started showing up and confiscating books from her shelves and newspapers because they had been blacklisted.

Besides scrutinizing her books, they questioned her travels. This was just the beginning of her hardships and ordeals.


Description: Francoise Frenkel's real life account of flight from Berlin on the 'night of broken glass', is abridged in five parts by Katrin Williams and translated by Stephanie Smee.

The author had a thriving bookshop in Berlin, selling French editions, newspapers and magazines. Society types and celebrities would drop by to browse, buy and socialise. Then 1935 heralded a dark dawn..

Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is an amazing story. It is very well written and reads very smoothly for a true diary account. It is a slightly different perspective from the Nazi holocaust, but not any less poignant.

Note: I was given a complimentary hard copy by the publisher for an honest review.
Fittingly, I finished reading this on Sunday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Even after seven decades, we’re still unearthing new Holocaust narratives, such as this one: rediscovered in a flea market in 2010, it was republished in French in 2015 and first became available in English translation in 2017.

Born Frymeta Idesa Frenkel in Poland, the author (1889–1975) was a Jew who opened the first French-language bookstore in Berlin in 1921. After Kristallnacht and the seizure of
Diane S ☔
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
3.5 thoughts soon.
Philippe Malzieu
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is a story like Nemirovski. A text found by chance. This is a story tipically mittel-Europa. A Russian Jewish young woman, fascinated by french littérature who became bookseller in Berlin. Many french author visited her (Colette, Gide...). An Wolfie uncle arrived in 1930. Exile, Paris, Nice, Helvetia.
The account of her life was published discretly in 1945 by an small editor and after nothing.
One book in bad states was found at a secondhand bookseller by chance. Modiano was enthused over it.
A hard to put down book. I feel so connected to those who lived through this time period. Reading their memoirs makes my life better and gives me a deeper appreciation for my freedoms. I also love to read of the angels on earth who love, help, and support others without judgement and giving the best of their time and resources without thought of pay. God still lives in our daily lives through our willingness to serve and keep the second commandment.

I highly recommend this book. It’s squeaky cle
Maine Colonial
As a young woman from Poland studying in Paris after World War I, Francoise Frenkel decided that she was destined to be a bookseller, ideally a seller of French books. Upon discovering that there were no French bookstores in Berlin, she set up shop there. Her brief success was snuffed out by the arrival of the Nazi regime. Prevented from returning to her family in Poland, Frenkel, who was Jewish, fled to France.

Despite the title, little of this book is about Frenkel’s Berlin bookshop. The bulk o
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Oh, the memory of the emergence of a leader with the face of an automaton, a face so deeply marked by hate and pride, dead to all feelings of love, friendship, goodness, or pity. ..” (p. 31)

Françoise Frenkel’s A Bookshop in Berlin has a long and circuitous publication history. First published in Switzerland in French in 1945 as Rien où poser sa tête (No place to rest her head), it soon became out-of-print and apparently forgotten until its rediscovery in 2010, reissued in France with an introdu
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Francoise Frenkel's real life account of flight from Berlin on the 'night of broken glass', is abridged in five parts by Katrin Williams and translated by Stephanie Smee.

The author had a thriving bookshop in Berlin, selling French editions, newspapers and magazines. Society types and celebrities would drop by to browse, buy and socialise. Then 1935 heralded a dark dawn..

Read by Samantha Spiro

Producer Duncan Minshull.
Benjamin baschinsky
DNF. Perhaps I have read too many books about World War II. It just didn't do anything for me. Highly subjective.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was just okay for me. It was Nonfiction - WWII - Autobiography. First the title was misleading and it didn't fit this book at all. It wasn't about a bookshop or about Berlin. This was written by a Jewish woman who did at one time own a bookshop in Berlin. She had an interesting story to tell as she struggled to survive WWII and I appreciated the French history in this and the descriptions of the French people. So many were quick and eager to help, even with the threat of the Nazis looming o ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this for a book club. It was fine. I always feel bad rating memoirs poorly, especially when they deal with serious subject matter, but this was pretty forgettable for me. There's nothing wrong with it but I just think there are better memoirs out there.

I think it's also worth noting that this has very little to do with a bookshop. This isn't a book about books, which I thought it might be when I went into it. The author had started a bookshop when she had to go into hiding. Most of the b
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Chat 10 Looks 3
I have seen a lot of comparisons between Françoise Frenkel’s memoir and Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky. They both depict the struggles of living in Nazi occupied France for a Jewish woman and both were works that were found by chance and published. I am yet to read Suite Française, although it sits on my shelf quietly waiting, so I am unable to speak to any more similarities. No Place to Lay One’s Head (Rien où poser sa tête) was originally published in 1945 with a limited run by the now de ...more
Kayla TM
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Rediscovered in an attic in 2010, the memoir of Françoise Frenkel is the story of a Polish-born Jewish woman’s journey to avoid the Nazis during World War II. It begins with a bookshop Françoise opens in Berlin: a store that caters to French literature and has a good following before the Nazis begin destroying the businesses of Jewish people. Fearing for her safety, Françoise flees to France. Soon, the German army overtakes France and Françoise is forced to hide and attempt to flee to Switzerlan ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a major publisher offers me a newly translated World War II memoir for review, I sit up and take notice. I was also inclined to read it because the author was a Jewish bookstore owner. A title like A Bookshop in Berlin implies that it delivers a first hand perspective on the Nazi persecution of Jewish owned stores before the Holocaust began. This sounded like it could be a riveting perspective. So I accepted a free copy of this memoir by Françoise Frenkel.

When I started this book, I wanted
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Françoise Frenkel experienced many harrowing years in France during WWII. She recounts those events in a very personal tone. I felt much as if she was walking beside me whispering her story to me.

After previous failed attempts she finally made her way across the border to Switzerland where she sets down her story. Her writing is in no way dramatic as her circumstances would have dictated, just her story in her own words. No flourishes whatsoever.

Having spent years in hiding, shuffling from plac
Donna McCaul Thibodeau
Three stars with one added for it being a true story from World War II. The author owned a French bookshop in Berlin. When the persecution of Jews became rampant, she fled to France. This is the story of how she finally escaped to Switzerland. I didn't find the writing compelling but I had much admiration for the author and the trials she had to endure.
DeAnna Thames
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The standout book of the year. My mind and soul absorbed, “ A bookshop in Berlin” in 5 hours. I was left with renewed hope for the individuals ability to be compassionate in times seemingly devoid of hope. In turn I read the last word and immediately felt sadness that I couldn’t experience more of Francoise Frenkel , sadness that she ( someone I feel I would have been great friends with) struggled and lost so much and would never see how her words touched so many ( as I feel they will). Surely t ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
Originally published in 1945 and recently rediscovered, this is the memoir of a Jewish woman born in Poland who ran a French bookshop in Berlin until the Nazi regime's intensifying persecution of Jews forced her to flee to France. As war comes to her refuge, she flees again, this time to the South, where she has to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers alike to stay alive before finally daring the dangerous escape across the Swiss border. A testament to the author's resilience. I was sur ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although France was a horrible place at this point in time, I'm uplifted and encouraged by the nobility and compassion of so many souls.
Laurie Lawler Boll
“We’re hunting humans now” is the reply to Francoise Frenkel’s question of a passerby of why men, women and children were being shoved into transport trucks by gendarmes in Nice.

This is Nazi-occupied France in 1942, and the reader is only part-way through Ms. Frenkel’s harrowing journey from Berlin to Switzerland. We meet many people along the way who put their own lives at risk to help Ms. Frenkel find safe passage to Switzerland, and observe first-hand the despair, fear, and exhaustion that
This is a very interesting memoir of a Polish Jew who escaped from the Nazis during World War II. Francoise Frenkel and her husband originally from Poland opened a French bookstore in Berlin in 1921, where there was peace until 1935. Then her bookstore is destroyed by the Nazis because she is Jewish. She eventually went into exile in France and finally with the help of friends made it safely to Switzerland. Frenkel writes candidly about her fears and ordeals, and it is ultimately a story of libe ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a story about Berlin - instead it's a Holocaust survival story. I think what made this book of interest today is that after being initially published in 1945, it was lost and not rediscovered until 2010. Republished in France at that time and now translated into English.

It's the story of a Polish Jewish woman - she's well educated in Paris at the Sorbonne - and after finds herself running a French language bookshop in Berlin. She's clearly very privileged with many connections. Throu
Dorothy Weigand
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my Jolabokaflod gift from a very good friend of mine. 4/5 stars. I really liked it. This memoir follows a woman on her harrowing journey to freedom from the Germans. I just wish we had learned more about her husband, who seemingly disappeared at the beginning of the memoir and is never seen or heard from again.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading stories on this topic. It is important to remember history so that we don't make the same mistakes. Sadly; I feel like we have taken a few steps backwards in today's world. Every day you read headlines about racism.

It is people like Françoise, who we have to thank for sharing their stories. While, I can't imagine enduring everything that Françoise did. In a way, I kind of could reading this book. I don't want to take anything away from Françoise but I was only semi engaged with
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
Somehow, I wasn't captivated. I started out feeling strongly about this book, a French bookshop owner in Germany! But my attention waned after the stories of continually leaving one place after another began to meld into repetition. I didn't feel like I was discovering anything new or original in the escaping of the Nazis realm though I'm sure I missed out on some fine details. Perhaps I should have read the hardcover book, complete with pictures, photographs, and translations. I might have been ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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Françoise Frenkel (Frymeta, Idesa Raichenstein-Frenkel) est une libraire et écrivain polonaise.

Elle étudie la littérature à Paris, à la Sorbonne. Puis elle part pour Berlin où elle fonde en 1921 la première librairie française, "La Maison du Livre". Elle la tient avec son mari, Simon Rachenstein, d'origine russe.

Simon Rachenstein s'exile à Paris en 1933, tandis qu'elle reste jusqu'en août 1939 à B

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