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A Bookshop in Berlin: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman's Harrowing Escape from the Nazis

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  11 reviews
WINNER OF THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE

"A beautiful and important book" (The Independent) in the tradition of rediscovered works like Suite Franaise and The Nazi Officer's Wife, the prize-winning memoir of a fearless Jewish bookseller on a harrowing fight for survival across Nazi-occupied Europe.

In 1921, Franoise Frenkel--a Jewish woman from Poland--fulfills a dream. She
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 3rd 2019 by Atria Books
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Kayla TM
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
DeAnna Thames
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Found in an attic less than a decade ago, this revealing tale focuses on a desperate woman. Frenkel had a French bookshop in Berlin during the rise of Nazism. She became trapped in France after the war broke out. She managed to stay alive with assistance from friends and by her wits. She atempts to escape to Switzerland a few times, ultimately successful. There are so many unknowns after 1945 pertaining to her. I would like to know what happened to her family, although it's probably obvious. ...more
Annette
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Source: I received a complimentary ebook copy from NetGalley and Atria Books, but was not required to leave a positive review.
My Thoughts:
A Bookshop in Berlin is an amazing story for several reasons.
The book was first published in the French language in 1945. The Swiss publishing company closed a long time ago. The book was found (by chance) and republished in 2015.
A Bookshop in Berlin shows Europe in the years before World War I, to the midway point of World War II. This gave me a panoramic
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Marty Hughes
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible account of the horrors of Nazi occupation and influence in contrast to the empathy and kindness of French citizens helping those persecuted. Must read!
Christina
Nov 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
I just cannot get myself into this book. I normally love books written about people escape from the Nazis. I am not saying this book is bad, but I am just saying it was not a book for me. I was very excited about this book, and I was sad it was not a book for me. I won an arc of this book from a goodreads giveaway. This is just my opinion.
Aimee
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Bookshop in Berlin/No Place to Lay One’s Head is the fascinating true account of Francoise Frenkel’s escape to Switzerland during WWII.

I’ll admit it was refreshing to read a nonfiction WWII book after reading so many fictional stories about the war.

Francoise dreams of opening a French bookshop in Berlin. It’s truly a labor of love - she’s a very thoughtful and compassionate bookseller, and quickly forms close friendships with her customers.

Through Francoise’s eyes, we see the slow
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Katie
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm so thankful I was able to read an e-galley of this amazing memoir written between 1943-44. Francoise Frenkel's story is fascinating and I think everyone interested in what it was like to be Jewish and living in Europe during the war should read this. What is utterly astounding is that this was written so soon after the events it describes so there is an authenticity here that can be rare to find in other books about the period. As the publication date nears, I will share a lengthier and more ...more
Krista
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent recounting of a lived experience all the more impactful for the plain style in which it is told. Francoise Frenkel is middle aged and running her own business in Germany when her Jewish identity turns her into one of the millions of European refugees during World War II. As she is bounced around from house to house she encounters devotion, opportunism, faithful friendship, deep despair, and ultimately a daring border crossing that saves her life. This is a story resonant for our own ...more
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Dec 03, 2019
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Joanna
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you love literature and, in particular, books by Patrick Modiano, you will love this compelling beautifully written memoir, No Place to Lay One’s Head (Rien ou poser sa tete) by a Polish-Jewish enigmatic writer, Françoise Frenkel (1889-1975) with a preface by Patrick Modiano.

Françoise (Frymeta Ideas) Frenkel was born in 1889 near Lodz (now Poland) into a Jewish-Polish family. In 1921 together with her husband, Simon Raichenstein, she set up the first French bookshop in Berlin, La Maison du
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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
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