On November 16 at 7 P.M., E.T., renowned author and journalist Helen Epstein will discuss her mother’s Holocaust memoir, Franci’s War (New York: Penguin, 2020)by Franci Rabinek Epstein. Franci’s story begins in Prague with the German occupation of March 15, 1939 and continues with her deportation, in the summer of 1942, to Terezin, the former fortress town forty miles north of Prague that the Nazis transformed into a transit camp/ghetto. It would be the beginning of a three-year journey that would take her next to the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and then, to slave labor camps in Hamburg, and Bergen Belsen. After liberation by the British in April 1945, she finally returned to Prague.
Franci was known in her group as the Prague dress designer who lied to Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz, saying she was an electrician, an occupation that both endangered and saved her life. In this memoir, Franci Epstein offers her intense and candid account of those years. Franci’s War is the powerful testimony of one incredibly strong young woman who survived and was able to tell her story.