From New Zealand to Prague through a burned letter

Photo: Aotearoa Books

Helene Ritchie spent many years as a politician in her home city of Wellington, New Zealand. She has just written a book telling the moving story of her search for her family’s past. In 1945, Helene’s mother Lidi Hess, received a letter from a relative in Prague. It included a long list of names of members of the family who had been murdered in the Nazi death camps. Faced with the unimaginable scale of the tragedy, Lidi burned the letter, and went on with her life in her new country. It was only many decades later that she told her daughter how she regretted destroying it. This inspired Helene to try to piece together her family’s history, to find out who all these family members had been.

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Author: David Vaughan