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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lizzi & Fredl...Review

About the book:
Austria, 1938. Europe trembles under the shadow of Hitler and the spreading threat of Nazism. Though some Austrians welcome the idea of belonging to the Fatherland once more, many more fear such a day. The Steiners are one such couple that dreads that ultimate day.

They have carved out a successful life for themselves in Vienna. Twenty-seven-year-old Fredl is an accomplished master jeweler, while twenty-six-year-old Lizzi is a professional dressmaker. When Fredl receives papers ordering him to Munich, Germany, to serve the Nazis in their war preparations, the couple knows they have no choice: they must leave Austria. As Hitler and his troops gain force in their homeland and annex Austria, Lizzi and Fredl endure a harrowing flight to France, uncertain whether they will ever see their country again.  

But France holds no safety for them. Fredl is captured by French Nazi sympathizers and must outwit his captors to survive in Vichy-controlled concentration and labor camps. Separated from Fredl, Lizzi evades arrest and relies on her guile and chutzpah to search for her beloved husband.  

What follows is an incredible seven-year odyssey filled with danger and endurance. From their long, arduous journey to Paris to Fredl's unbelievable rescue from a train bound for a Nazi death camp, Lizzi and Fredl delivers a remarkable true story of courage, faith, and overwhelming love.

I enjoy family histories and memoirs. So often reality is much more enthralling than fiction, and Dr. Stanford's story of his parents' experiences during World War 2 is just that: enthralling.  At the beginning of World War 2, Lizzi and Fredl Steiner, along with Fredl's two brothers and their wives, flee Austria in hopes of finding peace in Paris and then immigrating to the United States.  Forced from one place to another, Fredl is sent to a work camp and Lizzi is left on her own to find work.  Through narration, letters, and chapters that alternate between Lizzi and Fredl,we learn of their experiences and struggles as they endure hardships and frustrations while they work to be reunited and immigrate to America.

Dr. Stanford explains in the preface that as his parents were sharing their story with him, there were many times when they discovered memories and experiences they had kept from each other in an effort to shield one another.  The book is well researched and includes many personal photographs, as well as historical ones.

Something that stands out to me is the portrayal of those many kind and thoughtful people who helped Lizzi and Fredl in their journey.  I believe that most people are inherently good, and the Steiners were blessed many times over by the kindness of others.

While the dialogue and narration are more formal and simple, the story is fascinating.  Lizzi and Fredl were remarkable people and theirs is a beautiful, compelling love story.

Thanks to author and Bostick Communications for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Dr. William B. Stanford here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 6/10

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. This does sound good to me. I love memoirs and immigrant stories so it's right up my alley!

  2. I read this book and liked it very much. I actually wrote a review on my blog http://charmainesgibblegabble.blogspot.com/2010/04/book-review-lizzi-fredl.html One of my favorite books is "German Boy" by Wolfgang W. E. Samuel. It has a similar flavor.

  3. I love migrant and memoir stories.