web site hit counter Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed

Availability: Ready to download

Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter whose mother and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, where, as Jews, they spent four years as refugees, the last two under risk of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the last boat to escape France before the Germans sealed its harbors. Then, barred from entering the United S Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter whose mother and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, where, as Jews, they spent four years as refugees, the last two under risk of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the last boat to escape France before the Germans sealed its harbors. Then, barred from entering the United States, they lived in Cuba for almost two years before emigrating to New York. This sweeping account of one family’s escape from the turmoil of war-torn Europe hangs upon the intimate and deeply personal story of Maitland’s mother’s passionate romance with a Catholic Frenchman. Separated by war and her family’s disapproval, the young lovers—Janine and Roland—lose each other for fifty years. It is a testimony to both Maitland’s investigative skills and her devotion to her mother that she successfully traced the lost Roland and was able to reunite him with Janine. Unlike so many stories of love during wartime, theirs has a happy ending.


Compare

Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter whose mother and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, where, as Jews, they spent four years as refugees, the last two under risk of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the last boat to escape France before the Germans sealed its harbors. Then, barred from entering the United S Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter whose mother and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, where, as Jews, they spent four years as refugees, the last two under risk of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the last boat to escape France before the Germans sealed its harbors. Then, barred from entering the United States, they lived in Cuba for almost two years before emigrating to New York. This sweeping account of one family’s escape from the turmoil of war-torn Europe hangs upon the intimate and deeply personal story of Maitland’s mother’s passionate romance with a Catholic Frenchman. Separated by war and her family’s disapproval, the young lovers—Janine and Roland—lose each other for fifty years. It is a testimony to both Maitland’s investigative skills and her devotion to her mother that she successfully traced the lost Roland and was able to reunite him with Janine. Unlike so many stories of love during wartime, theirs has a happy ending.

30 review for Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This book was brought to my attention by the NPR radio program where Diane Rehm interviewed the author, Leslie Maitland. After listening to her read an excerpt, I knew I had to read it. I am so glad that I did! This was a fantastic book!! While it is a true story, written by an investigative reporter for the NY Times, it reads like a well plotted novel. Janine, the main character is the author's mother. Her Jewish family left Germany for France in 1938 and subsequently escaped to the US via Cuba This book was brought to my attention by the NPR radio program where Diane Rehm interviewed the author, Leslie Maitland. After listening to her read an excerpt, I knew I had to read it. I am so glad that I did! This was a fantastic book!! While it is a true story, written by an investigative reporter for the NY Times, it reads like a well plotted novel. Janine, the main character is the author's mother. Her Jewish family left Germany for France in 1938 and subsequently escaped to the US via Cuba. In leaving, she had to part with the love of her life, Roland. That romance colored the remainder of her life in so many ways. So much so, that her children all knew the story and eventually, the daughter went to look for Roland to see what had become of him. There is such a rich wealth of actual documents and photos saved by Janine's father and also uncovered in archives, etc. that you really feel like you know these people, their places and their dilemmas. She brings all of them to life so well. I learned much about WW2 and France, Germany, Cuba that I'd never known despite having read many Houlocaust stories, both true and fictional. I heartily recommend this book!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Reading through the reviews on Goodreads, I am amazed that people focused on the immorality of marriage infidelity and spoke little about the horrific historical events this family survived. It may seem hard to believe but the Gunzberger family was one of the lucky ones. They had money and connections that allowed them to escape Nazi Germany when a full 90% of the Jews in Germany were killed by the Nazis. I love that the family was able to preserve so many artifacts. Most of the Jews who survive Reading through the reviews on Goodreads, I am amazed that people focused on the immorality of marriage infidelity and spoke little about the horrific historical events this family survived. It may seem hard to believe but the Gunzberger family was one of the lucky ones. They had money and connections that allowed them to escape Nazi Germany when a full 90% of the Jews in Germany were killed by the Nazis. I love that the family was able to preserve so many artifacts. Most of the Jews who survived lost everything. And Leslie's research was impeccable. Only a true story could be this fascinating as it talked about the compromises we all make in life. This is a true testament to the power of one family and the dreams they had. Thank you, Leslie Maitland, for having the courage to share your family's incredible story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    ETA: I would like to discuss this book with others who have read it. Please see message four below. ******************* I cannot say I liked the ending, but hey this is not fiction! I would recommend this book to those interested in WW2 memoirs and those who do not get upset when they read about infidelity! I would avoid the audiobook narrated by the author. The melodramatic tone piled on top of emotional, melodramatic lines is sometimes hard to swallow. If this sounds like I did not like this bo ETA: I would like to discuss this book with others who have read it. Please see message four below. ******************* I cannot say I liked the ending, but hey this is not fiction! I would recommend this book to those interested in WW2 memoirs and those who do not get upset when they read about infidelity! I would avoid the audiobook narrated by the author. The melodramatic tone piled on top of emotional, melodramatic lines is sometimes hard to swallow. If this sounds like I did not like this book, then you have misunderstood me! The war experiences of Jews living on the border between France and Germany is very well depicted. The émigrés’ life in Cuba and what happened after the war was interesting too. I very much liked the description of the different places where the family lived and travelled. While I found the history of this family interesting, I am not at all sure the author has correctly interpreted the ins and outs of the love story. In relation to the ending, the decisions made brought sorrow to others, and this is simply disregarded….. ******************************** In chapter 24: I am fascinated with this strange family. All families are strange except those you know nothing about….. My prime question remains how the mother’s previous love affair can be so exalted. For me it was always imagined, better than it ever really was. Then the author’s father enters the scene. The first ten years of the marriage was fine, but then…..he makes no attempt to curb his infidelity. She counters with the stories of her previous love affair. I am mentioning this because if you cannot stomach a book that has as one of its central themes adultery, I would advise you to look elsewhere. I find it interesting. What has happened in this family to lead these individuals to behave as they do? Are people born with a particular character? Is it that the mother and father together created this problem? The father seemed to never be able to live up to the magnificence of his wife’s earlier star-crossed love affair! Who could? And yet he was a flirter from the moment they met! We all know people who have had extramarital love affairs. An understanding of why and how this happens is another theme of this book. My opinion? After the war, people wanted to enjoy life; they set their goals and went after them a little bit regardless of the consequences their actions would have on others. Competitiveness was the name of the game. I recognize all this from my youth, growing up in NY in the fifties. The book is interesting. I have stated that the author both narrates and composes her lines melodramatically. Here is an excerpt so you can judge if you react as I do. She has gone back to the birthplace of her mother, Freiburg, Germany. She is returning for two reasons: to better understand her familial past and to write about the reconciliation of the Jews in Germany after the war. At night, inside the brooding, lonely confines of my dark hotel room in the town’s historic center, my narrow bed became an oar-less raft on which I lay awake, unmoored, tossed through space and time. I fought against the undertow of two terrifying waves….. (chapter 24) ******************* Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Love Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed is till engaging me. There are two primary topics: a Jewish holocaust story and a love relationship. The author narrates the book herself and this is to detriment of the story. Her German is fine, at least to my ears, but the French leaves something to be desired. Her voice along with the melodrama of some of the lines is really soap-operatic. And she slurs words occasionally so they become indecipherable. I don't buy the daughter's, i.e. the author's, analysis of her mother's relationship with a previous suitor. The author draws this as a wonderful, glorious love story. For me, this love relationship is pitiful and an excuse for the author's mother's inability to become independent of her own parents. Absentee lovers are often idealized; the mother does this in spades. I keep screaming at her to open her eyes and look at Roland (the suitor) clearly. But she doesn't seem to hear me....... Her brother warned her and she wouldn't listen to him either. I am wondering if this love affair should have been kept private. Should such a family relationship be dredged up and turned into a WW2 holocaust memoir? Let me explain: the mother loves Roland, never marries him, but instead chooses another, an American, after she immigrates to the States. Then for the rest of her life she pines for Roland. When her American husband dies, the daughter/author brings the Roland and her mother together again. This is not a spoiler it is stated at the start of the book. I did like the historical facts related to the family's WW2 experiences in Alsace, Unoccupied France and Germany. Cuba too! They are forced to spend years in Cuba before being allowed to enter the States. When I am reading these bits I actually love the book! Interesting facts and perceptive analyses of French and Cuban war decisions are related. I have at least 1/3 left of the book. Now I fear I will be drowned in the melodramatic, selfish and self-pitying behavior of the love-stared mother. She is always blaming others or inconvenient circumstances for her own actions. OR is it in fact the daughter, the author of this book, who has misconstrued the past, her mother's behavior and motivations? Writing this helped me let off a little steam. I bet this will end up with three stars. There are good things and bad things in this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I loved every moment I spent reading this book (which I did in about 4 days). Maitland's writing style was unlike any other I have ever encountered; part memoir, part investigative reporter, part narrative, and part history. Clearly Maitland has done exhaustive research, painstakingly verifying sources, names, places, and events. The best part about this story is that it's true! I fell in love with the characters and when I wasn't reading, I found my mind wandering to Sigmar and Alice; Janine and I loved every moment I spent reading this book (which I did in about 4 days). Maitland's writing style was unlike any other I have ever encountered; part memoir, part investigative reporter, part narrative, and part history. Clearly Maitland has done exhaustive research, painstakingly verifying sources, names, places, and events. The best part about this story is that it's true! I fell in love with the characters and when I wasn't reading, I found my mind wandering to Sigmar and Alice; Janine and Roland; Cousin Mimi; and so many others. Now that I've finished the book, I still find myself thinking about the plight of this family. I probably learned more about WWII and the Holocaust in "CrossingThe Borders of Time" than in school. I think this was due to the fact that I, the reader, experienced the events as they happened on a personal level in the lives of these men and women. Starting with derogatory comments, the discriminatory taxes, the illegal confiscation of assets, and of course the atrocities of deportations to concentration camps. It's one thing to read the phrase "they lost everything" and quite another to read pages of the calculating and systematic stripping away of literally everything from the Jews in occupied Europe. It's hard believe in humanity when so many leaders and countries did very little to stop the Nazis. How could so many desperate pleas go unnoticed? Of course I am thankful that the Allies banded together to fight and I am even more thankful that so many young men were willing to give up their lives. But for millions of men, women, and children who were Jewish or otherwise labeled as "undesirable", the intervention came far too late. It was so tragic to read about the plight of the Gunzberger family and their desperate struggle to obtain paperwork and visas to secure them safe passage. I won't even go into the incredibly beautiful love story of young Janine and Roland who were torn apart by war and who lost so much due to terrible circumstances much beyond their control. So much loss and sadness and years of heartache makes the consequences of war much more poignant and personal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I bought into the selling point that this book told the Romeo and Juliet-esque love story of two young lovers separated over decades due to Maitland’s mother’s family escaping persecution during the Holocaust. Well, yes, that’s part of it, but a sizeable portion of the 500+ pages are devoted to dry historical information, taking away from the primary, more personal story. It’s important information, and I usually do enjoy history, but the author threw in every little tidbit from her research and I bought into the selling point that this book told the Romeo and Juliet-esque love story of two young lovers separated over decades due to Maitland’s mother’s family escaping persecution during the Holocaust. Well, yes, that’s part of it, but a sizeable portion of the 500+ pages are devoted to dry historical information, taking away from the primary, more personal story. It’s important information, and I usually do enjoy history, but the author threw in every little tidbit from her research and turned the book into a slog-fest. Without giving away the ending, it was a huge disappointment. All along Maitland makes her two protagonists victims, and I agree with some of that, particularly when it came to actions by Janine’s family to ensure the couple were kept separated. But the selfish, self-centered behavior of Roland and Hanna in their later years was inexcusable for me, especially after they had suffered so much due to their loved ones’ unforgivable actions. By the end, I felt a bit duped and a lot disappointed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I really wanted to love this book - I mean a love story about a couple separated through war and reunited years (and marriages) later? Sounds amazing. Unfortunately, the writing just drove me bonkers. The story meandered all around and got lost in annoying details. I couldn't even hang on until it got to the good part. Too bad. I really wanted to love this book - I mean a love story about a couple separated through war and reunited years (and marriages) later? Sounds amazing. Unfortunately, the writing just drove me bonkers. The story meandered all around and got lost in annoying details. I couldn't even hang on until it got to the good part. Too bad.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Part of this book is a remarkable story, remarkably told. I hovered between a 3 and 4 on this one, because Maitland's mother's story is truly interesting (the denouement is knowable from the jacket copy, but I won't spoil). And the chapters about Janine (the mother's) years as a girl in early Nazi Germany, as a relatively comfortable refugee in pre-war France, and as an evermore precarious potential target in occupied France are wonderful. Maitland's grandfather preserved numerous family documen Part of this book is a remarkable story, remarkably told. I hovered between a 3 and 4 on this one, because Maitland's mother's story is truly interesting (the denouement is knowable from the jacket copy, but I won't spoil). And the chapters about Janine (the mother's) years as a girl in early Nazi Germany, as a relatively comfortable refugee in pre-war France, and as an evermore precarious potential target in occupied France are wonderful. Maitland's grandfather preserved numerous family documents, and this collection, along with Maitland's painstaking research and what were clearly her mother's very vivid memories make these chapters fascinating. And like Daniel Mendelsohn in The Lost: In Search of Six of Six Million, Maitland doggedly goes to each of the places that her family's flight from the Holocaust played out, speaking to neighbors, helpers, and even those who collaborated (some of the book's most compelling episodes involve Maitland's visits to her ancestral city in Germany, and her complex relationship to the family tookover the house where her mother grew up and others, including the family that grew rich from her grandfather's expropriated business). This search, this personal investigation, reminded me very strongly of The Lost, one of the best books on the Holocaust that I have ever read. But this is not the Lost - for a few reasons, despite Maitland's admirable reportorial skills it falls short of that standard as a book. First, Maitland is simply not as good a writer as Mendelsohn. A reporter by trade, her prose becomes a bit clunky when she dives into the emotional or the romantic. Second, the dramatic love story that she has to tell - and it is dramatic - is not as interesting, really, as what happens to her family and their friends, and their helpers - especially because Maitland's research and reporting is so good. You want to know more about the landscape of life in Occupied France, and less about what is at bottom an adolescent love affair (and we all had those!). Third, I felt that book bogged down in the post-war years in America, and in the telling of her parents' suburban life and infedelities. It's tough going for a daughter, I'm sure, to write about her parents (especially her father, since she clearly had a special closeness with her mother, and took her side), but Maitland herself seems both uncomfortable in the telling yet determined to give us all the detail. This long suburban stretch cannot be as compelling as what came before, particularly as Maitland (as noted) is better at intense reporting than at introspection and emotion. The book slows down quite a bit. So a 3 or a 4? The limitations of stars! It's an amazing story, meticulously researched, and the first half of the book is an important contribution to Holocaust/WWII non-fiction. Like Mendelsohn, Maitland did her research at almost the last possible moment - she can still meet many of the people who knew her family (for better or worse in Europe), but already today that wouldn't be possible. But the book also has its limitations...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elise Murdock

    On a pier in Marseille in 1942, with desperate refugees pressing to board one of the last ships to escape France before the Nazis choked off its ports, an 18-year-old German Jewish girl was pried from the arms of the Catholic Frenchman she loved and promised to marry. As the Lipari carried Janine and her family to Casablanca on the first leg of a perilous journey to safety in Cuba, she would read through her tears the farewell letter that Roland had slipped in her pocket: “Whatever the length of On a pier in Marseille in 1942, with desperate refugees pressing to board one of the last ships to escape France before the Nazis choked off its ports, an 18-year-old German Jewish girl was pried from the arms of the Catholic Frenchman she loved and promised to marry. As the Lipari carried Janine and her family to Casablanca on the first leg of a perilous journey to safety in Cuba, she would read through her tears the farewell letter that Roland had slipped in her pocket: “Whatever the length of our separation, our love will survive it, because it depends on us alone. I give you my vow that whatever the time we must wait, you will be my wife. Never forget, never doubt.” Five years later – her fierce desire to reunite with Roland first obstructed by war and then, in secret, by her father and brother – Janine would build a new life in New York with a dynamic American husband. That his obsession with Ayn Rand tormented their marriage was just one of the reasons she never ceased yearning to reclaim her lost love. Investigative reporter Leslie Maitland grew up enthralled by her mother’s accounts of forbidden romance and harrowing flight from the Nazis. Her book is both a journalist’s vivid depiction of a world at war and a daughter’s pursuit of a haunting question: what had become of the handsome Frenchman whose picture her mother continued to treasure almost fifty years after they parted? It is a tale of memory that reporting made real and a story of undying love that crosses the borders of time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Leslie Maitland's biography/memoir really operates on 2 levels. First, there's the story of the escape of the her mother and her mother's family from the oncoming Nazis, as they move first from Germany to France, and then escape France for Cuba and, eventually, the United States. The details of Jewish life under a Nazi regime are chilling. In escaping Janine, Maitland's mother,leaves behind a boyfriend whom she believes to be the love of her life. The second level of the story examines Janine's Leslie Maitland's biography/memoir really operates on 2 levels. First, there's the story of the escape of the her mother and her mother's family from the oncoming Nazis, as they move first from Germany to France, and then escape France for Cuba and, eventually, the United States. The details of Jewish life under a Nazi regime are chilling. In escaping Janine, Maitland's mother,leaves behind a boyfriend whom she believes to be the love of her life. The second level of the story examines Janine's life as she tries to "replace" Roland (the boyfriend) with an American husband and children. The family dynamics are fascinating as well, as are Janine's (and Leslie's) attempts to resolve her emotional connection to this long-lost love. I found the book especially interesting because I was in Freiburg, Germany, and Alsace while I was reading it, so I had a geographic as well as an emotional connection to the story. Maitland is an excellent writer and her background as a reporter shines through in the detail of her historical reporting - she verifies the story told her by her mother and provides substantial supporting detail. This is a great read for those interested in the human side of World War II.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    After hearing this amazing love story from Leslie Maitland herself, it took me three years to finally pick up the book. It was beautifully written, and I could tell that it was one of the most important things that she's ever written. It's almost too good to be true, and I think that's what makes it appealing. I had no idea the struggles in France during WWII, and that so many Jewish people were sent there, and then taken to their deaths. That was an amazing history lesson for me. I also learned After hearing this amazing love story from Leslie Maitland herself, it took me three years to finally pick up the book. It was beautifully written, and I could tell that it was one of the most important things that she's ever written. It's almost too good to be true, and I think that's what makes it appealing. I had no idea the struggles in France during WWII, and that so many Jewish people were sent there, and then taken to their deaths. That was an amazing history lesson for me. I also learned that it wasn't uncommon to be Jewish in Germany, clearly a naive perspective of mine that needed to be corrected. The love story is beautifully played out. I felt said for Janine for most of the novel, but thankfully she comes out alright in the end. What an amazing relationship these two must have had for it to all come together this way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    It was a struggle. I was lured in by the whole 'reunion after 50 years' thing, but it felt like it took me 50 years to get to that part. First I had to read the entire history of WWII in France (shades of history class which was never my favourite) and then years in Cuba and the US. Finally the big reunion -- which might have been a lot more touching if (a)the author's father hadn't been at home dying while she's trying to find mom's lost love, and (b) lost love has a wife. From then on, it was It was a struggle. I was lured in by the whole 'reunion after 50 years' thing, but it felt like it took me 50 years to get to that part. First I had to read the entire history of WWII in France (shades of history class which was never my favourite) and then years in Cuba and the US. Finally the big reunion -- which might have been a lot more touching if (a)the author's father hadn't been at home dying while she's trying to find mom's lost love, and (b) lost love has a wife. From then on, it was really somewhat sleazy, with details about mom and lost love at last consummating their passion (please! I'm as old as the mom, and I certainly wouldn't want my daughter writing about it!!) and carrying on behind the wife's back for years, even including the grandchildren in the secret love affair. Not recommending this one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie_blu

    The book starts out strong, but goes downhill from there, and the climax of the book was infuriating. Roland and Janine were young lovers in Alsace at the beginning of the war, but were separated when her family had to flee because they were Jewish. The decades pass and each marries other people. Finally, Janine's adult daughter tracks down Roland and the two reconnect over the phone 50 years later. This could have been a wonderfully heartwarming story except for the fact that Roland is still ma The book starts out strong, but goes downhill from there, and the climax of the book was infuriating. Roland and Janine were young lovers in Alsace at the beginning of the war, but were separated when her family had to flee because they were Jewish. The decades pass and each marries other people. Finally, Janine's adult daughter tracks down Roland and the two reconnect over the phone 50 years later. This could have been a wonderfully heartwarming story except for the fact that Roland is still married and he completely dismisses that fact and his wife's feelings (Janine's husband had died). He and Janine sneak around for years after their reunion with no regard for Roland's wife. I was sickened by the author trying to portray this sordid affair as something wonderful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Loved this book! What an incredible story. I'm still shocked and saddened by these stories of pain and loss during the time of Hitler and we should never forget what these jewish families had to endure. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read about WWII. I had the pleasure of meeting this author at Booktopia 2012 in Vermont. Thank you Ms. Maitland for sharing your mother's story. Loved this book! What an incredible story. I'm still shocked and saddened by these stories of pain and loss during the time of Hitler and we should never forget what these jewish families had to endure. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read about WWII. I had the pleasure of meeting this author at Booktopia 2012 in Vermont. Thank you Ms. Maitland for sharing your mother's story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Parts of this book I give five stars, but I lowered the rating because it was too "wordy" for my taste in reading. I was only interested in the love story and the story about the people in the book - not the logistics of the war. This book did not delve into the brutality and horrors of the concentration camps, which was refreshing. This is a long one. Parts of this book I give five stars, but I lowered the rating because it was too "wordy" for my taste in reading. I was only interested in the love story and the story about the people in the book - not the logistics of the war. This book did not delve into the brutality and horrors of the concentration camps, which was refreshing. This is a long one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lauriann

    The author, Leslie Maitland had me right from the start. She was in the verge of finding the love of her mother's life, a person her mother had been separated from fifty years ago when she fled Nazi Germany. The hook was in, and most of the remaining book was the background stories of her mother and grandparents' lives and I had to be patient to see if her attempts to reunite "Janine" and "Roland" were successful. I was in awe of the amount of research that went into the writing of this book. It The author, Leslie Maitland had me right from the start. She was in the verge of finding the love of her mother's life, a person her mother had been separated from fifty years ago when she fled Nazi Germany. The hook was in, and most of the remaining book was the background stories of her mother and grandparents' lives and I had to be patient to see if her attempts to reunite "Janine" and "Roland" were successful. I was in awe of the amount of research that went into the writing of this book. It was rich with historical detail. That could have been cumbersome at times when I was anxious to get back to the love story, but the history was so reinforcing of the story. I listened to this book as an audio, but my name is on a waiting list at the library for the hardcover because I am hopeful there are pictures to go along with her story. That is the one downside of listening to bios and memoirs on audio.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anne Brown

    I was really excited to read this book based on some reviews but it got incredibly bogged down with a bit too much history and not enough of the real story. A big disappointment.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This is really just an incredible story of human loss and connection in the matrix of history. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Leslie Maitland's "Crossing the Borders of Time" is a superb book about the fluidity of family, love, and home. Maitland, a former NYT reporter, has written about her mother's family and the physical journey the took from Germany into exile and the memories - both positive and painful - they took with them. And she writes of their new life in the United States, where they brought those memories and connections. Maitland's book actually covers several subjects - the life in Germany and then France Leslie Maitland's "Crossing the Borders of Time" is a superb book about the fluidity of family, love, and home. Maitland, a former NYT reporter, has written about her mother's family and the physical journey the took from Germany into exile and the memories - both positive and painful - they took with them. And she writes of their new life in the United States, where they brought those memories and connections. Maitland's book actually covers several subjects - the life in Germany and then France in the run-up to WW2 - as well as how the Gunzburger family made their way in perilous times and conditions to the United States via north Africa, with a short stay in Cuba. The book continues with their post-war life, including Leslie's parents' difficult marriage, which was plagued by infidelity; her mother's continued yearning for the love of her life, a young Catholic man she left behind in France and by her father's physical infidelity with several women and by his emotional one with the teachings of author Ayn Rand. Maitland's book covers so much territory and all of it painted with a deft hand. One of the most interesting parts to me is her telling of returning to Germany and France with her parents in the early 1990's. They returned to the cities of Freiburg in Germany where her mother was born in 1923 and raised until the 1930's when the family fled to the (perceived) safety of Mulhouse, France. (Maitland covered the trip in a series of articles for the NYT, which I vaguely remember reading and thinking they were interesting. I didn't think I'd be reading 20 years later a book about the family.) As the family traveled, they returned to the places of Janine's childhood and met friends and family - both Jewish and Christian - who had survived the war years and had had to come to terms with the Nazi era and whatever part they played in those years. Some of the "reunions" were happy ones and some were sad. They saw the business that Janine's father had to turn over to Nazi-approved Christian ownership when they left Freiburg for France and how the "Jewish past" had been erased in the company's history. They visited the house they owned in Freiburg - originally standing next to a hotel - and toured it. The house had been divided into apartments after the war, and in one of the apartments, they met one of Janine's childhood Christian playmates. The woman, Rosemarie Stock, whose family had owned the hotel next door, was not glad to see her old friend, returned to Germany for what reason? Did she want the family house back? Rosemarie rather querulously informs Janine that her father had paid Janine's father "good money" for the house back in the 1930's. ("Good money" at the time was a pittance of the true worth of the house.) Rosemarie also proudly showed the Maitland family the picture of her in full Deutche Maiden regalia, hanging on the living room wall. BUT what was impressive to me as a reader of 20th century history, was the attitude of Stock's SON. Born after the war, Michael Stock was one of the postwar generation of Germans who studied and learned from the horrors of the Nazi era. I have read about and met members of this generation - MY generation - and have been impressed about the soul-searching they've done to understand and not repeat the past. So we have the Maitland family meeting the two divergent generations of Germans - the Nazi-sympathising mother and her son, who has seemed to learn the lessons of the past. Maitland's book covers so much more than I've written above. Returning to Germany and France on reunion trips is only a small piece of it. She fearlessly looks at her parents' difficult marriage but writes about the improbable love between the two. And, she writes about the love of her mother's life - "Roland Acieri" - the Frenchman she left behind in Marsailles in 1942 but never forgot. I am not saying any more on the subject... Leslie Maitland has written a book that looks at the generations of Jews - and some Christians - and how families form and tear-apart through the years. It is a brilliant book. And reading it reminds me of another book on much the same subject, Donald Katz's "Home Fires", the study of one family in post-war America. An epic picture of a family in joy and distress, it is out-of-print, but available on Amazon. Buy Maitland's book, and buy Katz's book, if you're interested in truly learning about 20th century families.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Schwartz

    Leslie Maitland recounts her mother's story. Born in 1923 in Freiburg, Germany, Hanna Gűnzburger lived a relatively carefree middle class life with her sister, parents, and extended family. At the age of fifteen she was forced with other German Jews to leave their homeland as the Nazis ascended to power. Moving to France, she changed her name to the French name Janine and assimilated into French society as well as any Jewish refugee from Germany could. It was in France where she met Roland (not Leslie Maitland recounts her mother's story. Born in 1923 in Freiburg, Germany, Hanna Gűnzburger lived a relatively carefree middle class life with her sister, parents, and extended family. At the age of fifteen she was forced with other German Jews to leave their homeland as the Nazis ascended to power. Moving to France, she changed her name to the French name Janine and assimilated into French society as well as any Jewish refugee from Germany could. It was in France where she met Roland (not his real name), a Catholic dreamboat who would become the love of her life. When her family became among the privileged few to leave France for Cuba, she had to say goodbye to Roland. After a brief stay in Cuba, the family moved to New York, Sabotaged by family, communications gone awry, and the ramifications of war, Janine and Roland lost touch with each other. They married and raised families of their own. Leslie Maitland grew up hearing stories about her mother's romance as other kids grow up listening to fairy tales. As a reporter, Leslie tracked Roland down, and Janine and Roland's romance was rekindled forty years later. Janine's family was lucky. They escaped Germany as an intact family unit, and were able to move to the United States. They may have lost their wealth and social standing, but lived decently and assimilated into American life. However, World War II and the persecution of Jews in places of Nazi occupation were always screaming in the background. The lives of Janine and Roland's generation, as well as of Leslie Maitland's generation were profoundly affected by the tentacles of war. I appreciated the delicacy and respect with which the author discussed her father. He certainly had idiosyncrasies and indiscretions, but the author suggests that his wife's preoccupation with Roland may have caused him to look outside the family for happiness. Another moral dilemma Ms. Maitland takes on is in the reborn romance of Janine and Roland. Janine's husband had died by this time, but Roland's wife of many years was still alive. Rather than break his wife's heart, Roland chose to keep his relationship with Janine from her. Roland and Janine were both uncomfortable with the adulterous aspect of their romance, but decided that it was the best course of action. Crossing the Borders of Time: a True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed, is foremost a romance: two soulmates separated who find themselves reunited across oceans and after many years. The truly gratifying part of the memoir is that it's a true story. Favorite lines: When it comes to discarding these things of the past, I can never think of an answer that pleases my ears -- the reason to get rid of them now instead of last week or eight months or twelve years ago which is probably why everybody gives them to me....I have become a trustee, a conduit, and to honor the past, I must pass them along....It is, I see clearly, much like the way I think of the Jewish tradition. In the face of the odds, the forces that time and again have sought to destroy it, the suffering of those who died to preserve it, who am I -- who am I in these easy times for us here -- to toss it aside, to abandon it now? From the beginning, the Jewish narrative has always been a story of journey, recalled and retold in each generation. Among those who have lived an exodus within their own times and have stubbornly carried their faith to new lands, it is left to their children to save and transmit it to those who come later, forging behind. (p. 55)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda LaRoche

    Crossing the Borders of Time by Leslie Maitland is a superior book based on a true story. It is an intriguing quest in which the vividly harrowing descriptions of the Jewish plight during WWII overshadow a forbidden love between a Jewish girl and a French boy. Evocative with insight into refugee displacement and exile due to the war, it’s a testament to family survival and unity and the triumph of love. Maitland's book covers many subjects. Her mother Johanna Gunzburger later called Janine was bo Crossing the Borders of Time by Leslie Maitland is a superior book based on a true story. It is an intriguing quest in which the vividly harrowing descriptions of the Jewish plight during WWII overshadow a forbidden love between a Jewish girl and a French boy. Evocative with insight into refugee displacement and exile due to the war, it’s a testament to family survival and unity and the triumph of love. Maitland's book covers many subjects. Her mother Johanna Gunzburger later called Janine was born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1923. As a young woman her family fled to Mulhouse where she met Catholic law student Roland Arcieri. Her family fled again; this time to Gray and then Lyon as the Nazis annex Alsace Lorraine. In 1941 in Lyon she and Roland meet again and remain romantically linked to one another with the promise to marry. One year later, Janine and her family flee to Marseilles and then to Cuba and eventually to America. Unbeknownst to Janine, her father and brother insured she would not meet Roland again as they intercept his letters. In America, Janine marries a Jewish man, a handsome and philandering Ayn Rand advocate. Maitland looks at her parents' difficult marriage but writes about the improbable love between the two. And, she writes about the love of her mother's young love —the Frenchman she left behind in Marseilles in 1942 but never forgot. This book also looks at the generations of Jews—and how families form and tear-apart through the years. Fifty years after the Marseille events, Maitland who is a reporter, efforts reunite the widowed Janine and the married—for the second time — Roland, now living in Montreal, Canada. Maitland's investigative skills and her devotion to her mother lead her to successfully trace the lost but not forgotten Roland. Unlike so many stories of love during wartime, theirs has a happy ending. Encapsulated in their story are many photographs, details, WWII history and facts and there is quite a bit to learn from this book—it is brilliant!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    My mother bought this book for me on my kindle. It magically appeared in the device. That was just the first pleasant surprise that awaited me during the reading of this book. I loved every second of it! There were a few times where I had a hard time keeping track of the various family relations described in the book, but the family tree helped me sort out those questions. I could relate to these real people as if they were my real family. Having just read the book "Caring for Words in a Culture My mother bought this book for me on my kindle. It magically appeared in the device. That was just the first pleasant surprise that awaited me during the reading of this book. I loved every second of it! There were a few times where I had a hard time keeping track of the various family relations described in the book, but the family tree helped me sort out those questions. I could relate to these real people as if they were my real family. Having just read the book "Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies" I was pleased to observe that Leslie Maitland is also a steward of words by loving the long sentence. I enjoyed the structure of the words as well as the structure of the story itself. The photographs made the story even more real and they are evidence of the extensive research that Maitland did. When I was in high school, I visited the city of Freiburg, Germany, so this story made me reflect on my visit and appreciate the opportunity I had to travel there. I am also in an international relationship and am dealing with the bureaucracy of visas. This story highlighted some little publicized or accepted facts about how the United States acted towards Jewish refugees during WWII by being "stingy" with visas and maintaining strict quotas. How many more could have been saved if not for cowardly political actions? I also accepted and considered the flexible ideas of love and marriage in the book. Although the main character deals with infidelity in different ways throughout her marriage, even during and after her husband's death, the author is clear to give the reader the background and reasons to understand why the marriage continued and how the unfaithful characters chose to act as they did.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I listened to the author, Leslie Maitland, do an amazing job of narrating this wonderful story of love and loss during World War II. She shares the fascinating story of her mother, a German Jew who, at the age of 16 was forced to leave her homeland with her family in order to flee Hitler. Moving to France where they were sure they would be safe, her mother met the "love of her life." As we all know, France did not escape the clutches of the Third Reich and Maitland's mother's harrowing story of I listened to the author, Leslie Maitland, do an amazing job of narrating this wonderful story of love and loss during World War II. She shares the fascinating story of her mother, a German Jew who, at the age of 16 was forced to leave her homeland with her family in order to flee Hitler. Moving to France where they were sure they would be safe, her mother met the "love of her life." As we all know, France did not escape the clutches of the Third Reich and Maitland's mother's harrowing story of love, tragedy, loss and escape kept me engaged and anxious for the next part of the story. Maitland, years later, through intense research and documentation was able to bring life to the people and setting of her mother's story, interviewing neighbors, cousins and survivors who were all able to add more insight to this inspiring story. There are numerous tales of World War II - the injustice, the apathy, the heroes and the sacrifices - and every single one of them is important for history's sake but few are told in such careful detail and in such an engaging manner. Maitland's skill as an award-winning journalist serves her well. I tend to prefer the narrative of fiction but I found this even more compelling because I knew that everything that was being relayed had actually happened. Like many, I have studied WWII but this story personally engaged me so that as each new injustice towards the Jews was implemented, I personally related to the event and the destructive impact of the Nazi regime. I am grateful to Books on the Nightstand for introducing me to this author and recommending her work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    In short: There's no way of getting around what an incredible story this is, and I'm putting it at the top of my recommendations for people looking for Not Just a Novel (since it isn't a novel at all). It borders on indulgent at times, and Maitland goes a little purple here and there in her descriptions of her mother's idyllic life before the war, her father's self-obsession, and a few other spots, but bear with it and through all 500 pages, because the detail, the memories made real, and the wa In short: There's no way of getting around what an incredible story this is, and I'm putting it at the top of my recommendations for people looking for Not Just a Novel (since it isn't a novel at all). It borders on indulgent at times, and Maitland goes a little purple here and there in her descriptions of her mother's idyllic life before the war, her father's self-obsession, and a few other spots, but bear with it and through all 500 pages, because the detail, the memories made real, and the way Maitland gets the reader through SO MUCH TIME is just masterful. SPOILERS AHOY: From the outset, we know that Maitland's mother left her childhood love in Europe and that Maitland's father is not that man. The tension in this true story, amazingly, comes not from how/when/why they are able to reunite, but how Janine, her mother, is able to get on with life with her parents, her husband, her children. The layers of fidelity and infidelity of nearly every relationship in and near her life (marriages, friendships, parent-child, sibling-sibling) are explored so clearly and delicately, both by Janine as the lead player and Leslie as her documentarian. And finally, the payoff, the unbelievable reality of Janine and Roland in love again, 50 years after the fact. Admittedly, at some point in the middle of the book, I realized (as will most readers, I suppose) that Maitland couldn't have found these facts of Roland's life if she hadn't found Roland, but there was still a possibility that she'd found an ex-wife, a child, or someone else who could have recounted the stories. Their reunion is simply magic, and that's the real payoff. Anyway, a great read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Non-fiction biographical book by Leslie Maitland, daughter of Hannah (Janine) Gunzburger, a German Jew from Freiburg, Germany whom with her family escapes, over four years, only steps ahead of the Nazi oppression, fleeing into France and ultimately obtaining asylum in the U.S. via Cuba. Along the path of her youth Janine falls in love with Roland Arcieri, an Alsatian Catholic, from Mulhouse, France, whereby they are separated for fifty years until they find one another when Roland is seventy, li Non-fiction biographical book by Leslie Maitland, daughter of Hannah (Janine) Gunzburger, a German Jew from Freiburg, Germany whom with her family escapes, over four years, only steps ahead of the Nazi oppression, fleeing into France and ultimately obtaining asylum in the U.S. via Cuba. Along the path of her youth Janine falls in love with Roland Arcieri, an Alsatian Catholic, from Mulhouse, France, whereby they are separated for fifty years until they find one another when Roland is seventy, living in Canada, and Janine is sixty seven living in New Jersey. Mailtand's investigative journalism provides an almost too in depth account of the perils encountered by her grandparents, Sigmar and Alice, and her mother, Hannah Janine, her brother, Norbert, and her sister, Trudi, as they flee across France, the Altantic Ocean, Cuba and ultimately settle in New York. The love between Janine and Roland endured over many decades, hardships and loss. I was surprised at how many photos, letters, artifacts, and historical documents remained so many years after fleeing France via Marseilles, Havana, Cuba, New York and Freibrug. I thought the book could have been edited 150 pages shorter without losing the essence of the research. Maitland went into too much detail that didn't enhance the story and/or could have been abbreviated. “More than one enemy has risen against us to destroy us. In every generation, in every age, some rise up to plot our annihilation. But a Divine Power sustains and delivers us.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    cameron

    This is one of those stepping stone books for me which is now leading me out of decades of focus on the Holocaust to what happened after the war, to those who managed to get away and to those who survived. What is the impact on the next generation? How do children cope with lives and families torn apart before they were born? What are memories? Several books I have are making me interested more in discovering if the treatment both physical and psychological given to camp survivors helped much in This is one of those stepping stone books for me which is now leading me out of decades of focus on the Holocaust to what happened after the war, to those who managed to get away and to those who survived. What is the impact on the next generation? How do children cope with lives and families torn apart before they were born? What are memories? Several books I have are making me interested more in discovering if the treatment both physical and psychological given to camp survivors helped much in the long run? What seemed to help the most? How does one survive after one has survived? I would like to have any recommendations about post Holocaust treatment, medical and psychological, of Jews immediately after liberation as well as years into their futures. I"ve read some about refugee camps but not a lot. How much does life before the war become a fantasy and what is real memory and what isn't? What does one do with horrible experiences? Write? Talk? Deny? Forget? Teach? This book is oddly propelled by a second generation American journalist who tries to piece together how her Mother's life was affected . Her Mother left Marseilles in the last boat of refugees able to legally get out of Germany occupied France and immigrate to Cuba and then to America. It's the story of building a new life while retaining an old life. It's also a love story grounded in imperfection and harsh reality. A good read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Excellent read! I highly recommend this book; it should be added to the legacy of books about the history and impact of WWII. This is a Holocaust story, an immigrant story, and ultimately the story of star-crossed lovers torn apart by war. It is the true story of Leslie Maitland’s mother whose German name was Hannah, which she changed to Janine in France. The time frame covers her journey from a childhood in Germany and France just prior to WWII, to adulthood in America. The story is beautifully Excellent read! I highly recommend this book; it should be added to the legacy of books about the history and impact of WWII. This is a Holocaust story, an immigrant story, and ultimately the story of star-crossed lovers torn apart by war. It is the true story of Leslie Maitland’s mother whose German name was Hannah, which she changed to Janine in France. The time frame covers her journey from a childhood in Germany and France just prior to WWII, to adulthood in America. The story is beautifully written, incorporating many details of the meticulously researched Holocaust-related nightmares the family lived through. After leaving France on the last boat out of Marseille before the ports were closed, they spent time in Cuba, and eventually made their way to America. It a very classy, very well-done immigrant saga - - but the underlying love story adds a level of humanity that makes the book quite special. As a 15-year old girl, Janine fell in love with a gorgeous, young French man named Roland Ancieri, whom she met in Mulhouse before the family leaves Europe. As star-crossed lovers, their paths do not cross again for many years. Janine and Roland both live full lives, but their thoughts of each other and desire to be together again is a major theme.

  27. 4 out of 5

    K2 -----

    This was such an amazing book I didn't want it to end and delayed completing it I was so moved. What is also amazing is how much source materials the author had access to and the in depth research she did into her mother's story. The author, Leslie Maitland had been conceived but not born, when her mother was forced to choose between her baby's father and the love of her life. Leslie grew up knowing her mother's first love affair was interrupted by the ravages of World War II and her mother's fam This was such an amazing book I didn't want it to end and delayed completing it I was so moved. What is also amazing is how much source materials the author had access to and the in depth research she did into her mother's story. The author, Leslie Maitland had been conceived but not born, when her mother was forced to choose between her baby's father and the love of her life. Leslie grew up knowing her mother's first love affair was interrupted by the ravages of World War II and her mother's family's wish for her to marry someone she shared a religious heritage with. I have read many books about WWII and many books written by children whose parent's survived the holocaust and first hand accounts but this was different. It had many elements to it including a great story, a devoted journalist writing it, a passion for the subject, and the backdrop of history. It was so compelling written I didn't want to put it down even though it was almost five hundred pages long. It reminded me a little bit of the book Rena's Promise but that is a compliment to both tomes. I would highly recommend this book, made more meaningful by have traveled through many of these towns her family had lived/

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    I wanted to love this book and not just like it. I love WWII novels, and this being a memoir I knew I would enjoy it even more. The story was very compelling, but there were times when I felt the author just go on an on about descriptions of towns. This story is about the author's mother, Janine, and her family fleeing to Marseilles, France and then to America. Janine falls in love with a young man named Roland while the war was going on. She looses contact with Roland never realizing her father I wanted to love this book and not just like it. I love WWII novels, and this being a memoir I knew I would enjoy it even more. The story was very compelling, but there were times when I felt the author just go on an on about descriptions of towns. This story is about the author's mother, Janine, and her family fleeing to Marseilles, France and then to America. Janine falls in love with a young man named Roland while the war was going on. She looses contact with Roland never realizing her father and brother intercept his letters to her after the war. Janine marries a stern and philanderring man and one of their children Leslie Maitland supported by her brother Gary and her husband Dan begins the odyssey of finding her mom's first love who now lives in Montreal, Canada. This searching really begins as their father is dying, the author feels she must find her mother's true love. I enjoyed this book, but again didn't love it!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I tried to listen to the audio version of this book, but by about chapter 19 I couldn't take anymore. Even though the author's mother was brought up in a different culture than I've experienced as a woman born & raised in the US, I still had a very difficult time with the fact that her brother & family interfered with her life as they did, convinced of the fact that they knew what was best for her. I finally scrolled through the other reviews here just to find out what happened & returned the bo I tried to listen to the audio version of this book, but by about chapter 19 I couldn't take anymore. Even though the author's mother was brought up in a different culture than I've experienced as a woman born & raised in the US, I still had a very difficult time with the fact that her brother & family interfered with her life as they did, convinced of the fact that they knew what was best for her. I finally scrolled through the other reviews here just to find out what happened & returned the book to the library. I think what bothered me most in this book was the double standards Janine's parents held regarding their children coupled with the fact that Janine was incapable of standing up for herself & taking control of her own life. To an extent she was a victim, but she brought a lot of the misery on herself with choices she willingly made regarding marriage & allowing herself to remain a pawn to her parents' wishes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christina Dudley

    This memoir/family history/general WWII history began thrillingly, with a daughter trying to track down her mother's lost wartime love, and throughout the book, that was the story I was most interested in--not the grandparents, not the siblings, not the cousins, not the mayor, and so on. I also felt very sorry for mom's eventual husband, rather like whoever Kate Winslet's character ended up marrying in TITANIC--thanks for the lifetime, bub, but I'm still carrying a torch for this other fellow. As This memoir/family history/general WWII history began thrillingly, with a daughter trying to track down her mother's lost wartime love, and throughout the book, that was the story I was most interested in--not the grandparents, not the siblings, not the cousins, not the mayor, and so on. I also felt very sorry for mom's eventual husband, rather like whoever Kate Winslet's character ended up marrying in TITANIC--thanks for the lifetime, bub, but I'm still carrying a torch for this other fellow. As a journalist, Maitland's book is well-researched and *very* thorough. Very, very, very thorough. I admit to some skimming. But I did make it to the end because I was dying to know what happened to Roland.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.