Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: Restitution by Kathy Kacer

Restitution: A Family's Fight for Their Heritage Lost in the Holocaust by Kathy Kacer
Publisher: Second Story Press
Publication date: April 2010
ISBN: 9781897187753
Source: review copy provided by publisher

Restitution: A Family's Fight for Their Heritage Lost in the Holocaust 

This is the story of one family's journey to recover some of their valuable paintings after they had to flee from Czechoslovakia near the beginning of World War II.  The Reisers are a prominent Jewish family in their town of Rakovnik.  But, as news from Germany arrives about the Hitler and the Nazi's treatment of Jewish people, Marie Reiser decides they must flee Europe to avoid what she thinks is inevitable - Hitler's Jewish policies will come to their country.  By miraculous circumstances, their whole family makes it to Canada before it is too late.  They watch and read of the horrors that take place back home, worrying about loved ones and friends.  After the war, Marie makes efforts to retrieve what is left of their property - four valuable paintings that she loved so much.  But, the task seems impossible.

Things I Liked:
I needed a break from some of the fiction I've been reading, and this was an excellent choice.  It was interesting to read about the Reiser family (changed to Reeser in Canada) and how they managed to escape Europe before Hitler's antisemitism policies took over everything.  It was heartening to read of a fairly happy outcome of a Jewish family - sometimes it can be overwhelmingly depressing if all you ever read about is the holocaust.  There are those who were very fortunate and made it out alive.  I was really impressed with Marie Reiser and all that she managed almost by sheer force of will.  An inspiring story.

Things I Didn't Like:
I was uninterested in the parts of the book that related to Theo Kral, the man they hired to retrieve the paintings from Communist Czechoslovakia.  He was not the kind of person I like to read about and I just didn't enjoy those parts.  Some of it even seemed extraneous to the story.  

For more books around this time period, see my 1940s Listless Monday list

s-factor: !
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: X
it is implied in a few places, but really nothing happens

v-factor: ->  

the family escapes most of the brutality, but in a few instances they don't

Overall rating: ****

What do you read for a break from your "normal" fare?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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