A poignant memoir of lives cleaved by war, Otto and Daria is the first-hand account of Eric (or Otto) Koch. As a Jewish refugee from WWII Germany, Otto first left his country for England, and later arrived in Canada, where he was for a time imprisoned in a camp. The counterpoint to Otto's recollections are the letters from his long-distance love interest, Daria Hambourg, a London girl of bohemian temperament, unusual literary talents and a distinguished, but restrictive, family background. These parallel writings tell the story of two young people caught in the grip of history, and together show what you have to give up in order to move forward.
Preface Acknowledgements Introduction: My Encounter with Daria Chapter 1: Frankfurt—The Centre of the World Chapter 2: St. John’s Wood Chapter 3: Westendplatz Chapter 4: The Playing Fields of Cranbrook Chapter 5: Shadows of the Past Chapter 6: 1938—The Year I Met Daria Chapter 7: Daria’s First Letters Chapter 8: Waiting for Monsieur Rappaport Chapter 9: Fifteen Minutes with the Police Chapter 10: Anguish in Ascona Chapter 11: “Peace in Our Time” Chapter 12: Shattering Glass Chapter 13: Christmas in Buckinghamshire Chapter 14: From Frankfurt to Kensington Chapter 15: Watches and Clocks Chapter 16: Tea in St. John’s Wood Chapter 17: September 3, 1939 Chapter 18: Refugees in the Blackout Chapter 19: My Future, if Any Chapter 20: Tea with the Master Chapter 21: The End of All My Troubles Chapter 22: Internment Part One: The English Phase Chapter 23: Internment Part Two: A Camp with a View Chapter 24: Internment Part Three: A Year in One Spot Chapter 25: Internment Part Four: The Camp Experience Chapter 26: Daria in No Man’s Land Chapter 27: German Lessons Chapter 28: A Benevolent Colonel Chapter 29: The Consequences of Internitis Chapter 30: A Love Story Chapter 31: The Summit Chapter 32: One Toe in Canada Chapter 33: Marriage—A Transatlantic Fantasy Chapter 34: The Summer of 1943 Chapter 35: Nine Toes in Canada Chapter 36: I Have Arrived Three Postscripts Dinner with Daria St John’s Wood: The Sequel Father Benedict Ramsden Final Note About the Author
Praise for Eric Koch's previous historical fiction title Hilmar and Odette:
"Eric Koch's brilliant, unique, and moving account has the passion of personal involvement, the clarity of historical observation, and the revelation of archetypal drama. It is a remarkable piece of writing." Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada
"Mr. Koch's amazing story, movingly and skillfully told, once again proves that truth can be stranger than fiction, especially in dark times such as Europe in the thirties and forties. It takes a good deal of imagination, background knowledge, psychological understanding, and the talent of a born writer to carry it off. Mr. Koch has done so triumphantly." Walter Laquer, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, DC
"A sensitive and stylish account of how one man has been able to disentangle the lives of men and women living in Germany in the years before and during the Nazi period. One seldom encounters a memoir that is more worthy, more admirable, more compelling, or more understanding." John Robert Colombo, author and anthologist