This book tells the stories of three villas in Dresden and the people who built, owned, and inhabited them in the years 1871 to 1939. The stories and fates of the villas and their occupants are inextricably intertwined. The buildings were owned by members of two consecutive generations of a wealthy German-Jewish family that was imbued with a sense of civic duty to the city it had proudly made its home: Dresden. The story of their lives, however, all but vanished from the city’s collective consciousness after 1945. That began to change after 1990 and the reunification of Germany, when the fates of the houses and their erstwhile residents were rediscovered and researched. Intended for a general readership interested in learning more about these buildings and people, this book demonstrates how the two surviving villas are the authentic remnants of upper-middle-class Jewish life in Dresden.
The stories in this book speak of architecture, culture and tradition, identity and religion, of family, a sense of belonging and loyalty to the fatherland, of the education and lifestyle of the upper-middle classes, justice and law, honour and duty. These stories also speak, however, of marginalization and terror, expulsion and escape, loss and memory. Furthermore, they are a testament to empathy and humour – qualities never lost by the various family members as they started afresh as committed global citizens after fleeing Nazi Germany.