Emigration to “The Land of the Long White Cloud”
“Exile in New Zealand”, the latest addition to the National Fund’s bilingual book series, Erinnerungen / Lives Remembered, will be presented to the public for the first time at the 2022 edition of Vienna’s annual book fair, “Buch Wien”.
Like the six volumes preceding it, this two-part work asks how people fared when they fled Nazi persecution to live in exile different countries around the world.
“Exile in New Zealand” contains 20 memoirs, some autobiographical, others biographical, each one portraying a unique fate. The emotive and compelling accounts enable readers to immerse themselves in the lives of the protagonists and follow them on their flight from Austria to their new homeland: the Hoffmann brothers, for example, from the Wachau region of Lower Austria, built a whole new life for themselves in New Zealand and look back on their old homeland in a spirit of astonishing forgiveness and reconciliation.
National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka says: “The Shoah victims’ stories remind us to draw the right lessons from the past for both the present and the future. For a peaceful, respectful coexistence within our society. Despite the trauma they suffered, which has also left the descendants deeply scarred, they continue to be united by their shared history and their common origin – by their bond with Austria.”
Articles containing historical and cultural background information place the life stories within a broader context: In addition to an introductory article by the editor Renate S. Meissner on emigration to “The Land of the Long White Cloud”, the publication contains a guest contribution by the cultural and social anthropologist and former President of the Austrian-South Pacific Society Margit Wolfsberger, who has explored the subject of Austrian migration to Oceania in the course of several research trips to the country, during which she interviewed many former Austrian Jewish refugees about their exile.
“Exile and losing a homeland are recurring themes that continue to affect us in every generation,” says Hannah Lessing, Secretary General of the National Fund: “Stories like those of the Hoffmann brothers allow us to understand humans as beings steeped in time whose identity is shaped, among other things, by the past from which they come – a past that embodies the lost homeland.”
The two-part publication is available now from the National Fund.
596 pages (2 books), German/English ISBN 978-3-9504794-4-7