History Unplugged Podcast
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A Jewish Family Couldn’t Flee Nazi Germany. So They Wrote Letters to Strangers in America Asking For Help

September 01, 2020
00:00 56:54
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In 1939, as the Nazis closed in, Alfred Berger mailed a desperate letter to an American stranger who happened to share his last name. He and his wife, Viennese Jews, had found escape routes for their daughters. But now their money, connections, and emotional energy were nearly exhausted. Alfred begged the American recipient of the letter, “You are surely informed about the situation of all Jews in Central Europe….By pure chance I got your address….My daughter and her husband will go…to America….help us to follow our children….It is our last and only hope….”

After languishing in a California attic for over sixty years, Alfred’s letter came by chance into Faris Cassell’s possession. Questions flew off the page at her. Did the Bergers’ desperate letter get a response? Did they escape the Nazis? Were there any living descendants?

Today’s guest, Faris Cassell, author of the book The Unanswered Letter, discusses many things, including a previously unknown opportunity to assassinate Hitler—to which the Bergers were connected.

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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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