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Home Without a Homeland

Home Without a Homeland

By Nora Huppert

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Nora Huppert has had a lucky life. Flown out of Prague on the first Kindertransport, she barely escaped the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939. Her father from Berlin, a radical journalist, had fled even earlier, promising to arrange for Nora, her mother and brother to follow him to London. Nora was taken in by a large and loving English family, the McNairs, and spent the War years on a farm in the English countryside. Her vivid account of those years, of working in post-War London, meeting her Austrian doctor husband, Peter, living with him all over the country as he worked his way up the medical hierarchy, then migrating to Tasmania, as far as possible from Cold War Europe, is an enthralling story.

The cities of Europe between the Wars, Britain during the Blitz, post-War London and Switzerland, and Australia as experienced by a middle class migrant family are all vividly evoked in the book. Nora’s father’s and husband’s internment as ‘enemy aliens’ and their subsequent release into useful Allied War work; the tightening of the Nazi net around those like her mother and brother, marooned in Prague; the dispersal to camps and exile of family and friends from the great European cities; the rise and fall of Communism: Nora and her family have experienced the cataclysmic events of the twentieth century.

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