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Driving to TreblinkaBy Diana Wichtel
Shortlisted for Royal Society Te Aparangi Award for General Non-fiction, Ockham Book Awards 2018
Diana Wichtel was born in Vancouver. Her mother was a New Zealander, her father a Polish Jew who had jumped off a train to the Treblinka death camp and hidden from the Nazis until the end of the war. When Diana was 13 she moved to New Zealand with her mother, sister and brother. Her father was to follow.
Diana never saw him again.
Many years later she sets out to discover what happened to him. The search becomes an obsession as she painstakingly uncovers information about his large Warsaw family and their fate at the hands of the Nazis, scours archives across the world for clues to her father’s disappearance, and visits the places he lived.
This unforgettable narrative is also a deep reflection on the meaning of family, the trauma of loss, and the insistence of memory. It asks the question: Is it better to know, or more bearable not to?
“Driving to Treblinka is much more than a daughter’s quest for her missing and misunderstood father. It’s a searing exploration of the burden carried by all Holocaust survivors through generations and across continents. In lighting a memorial candle for her father, Diana Wichtel pays tribute to them all. A powerful and confronting read” – Helena Wiśniewska Brow, author of Give Us This Day
“Diana Wichtel’s family memoir can only be read through tears—a beautiful, profoundly moving search for her father and also for memory, in a story that clings to humour and love” – Steve Braunias, author of Civilisation
“Intimate, moving and eloquent, shot through with the author’s celebrated wit, Driving to Treblinka shines a light on what it means to survive. This compelling search for a father’s grave is, above all, an affirmation of unstoppable life” – Catherine Chidgey, author of The Wish Child
“A poignant and gripping story that is full of tension as the truth about what Diana Wichtel’s father and others in her family endured slowly unfolds” – Ann Beaglehole, author of A Small Price to Pay
“A heartbreaking work of genius” – read this review by Margo White in The Spinoff
“Her prose is exquisite, her wit elegant” – read this review by James Robins in the Weekend Herald
Read Russell Baillie’s Q&A with Diana Wichtel in NZ Listener
Listen to Diana Wichtel’s interview with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand
Catch up on news and photos about Diana Wichtel’s exciting book launch at Unity Wellington
Imprint: Awa Press
Size/weight: 215mm x 145mm /0.5 kg
Illustrations: 39 B&W
Published: September 2017
Category: Biography/Memoir, History