W&N History / biography Hb / ETPb May £18.99 / £12.99 320pp Illustrations: 8-page plate section 978 1 474 60446 8 / 978 1 474 60447 5 ebook: £18.99 / 978 1 474 60449 9 Audio: £19.99 / 978 1 409 16758 7 / 10 hours both a beautifully written family history and a contemporary, incisive take on the plight of refugees – and of Europe – today.
JONATHAN DEAN I Must belong Somewhere Three men. Two migrations. One endless journey.
From Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Dean, a journey into his family history, which throws up surprising parallels with the present-day refugee crisis.
Dean’s great-grandfather, David Schapira, lived a life of epic achievement and epic suffering. Forced to flee Ukraine at the outbreak of WWI, he was blinded fighting for his adopted country then survived – just – the concentration camp that country later sent him to. In between he found love and laughter in vienna, and became the first lawyer in Austria to train using braille.
Dean’s grandfather, Heinz, was also a refugee. Aged sixteen, he said goodbye to his parents and embarked on a nail-biting journey to britain, to escape his fate as an Austrian Jew. The prejudice he faced and assimilation he achieved are laid out in the pages of his diary, pages filled with surprising observations and irrepressible humour.
but this is no ordinary family history. As Dean visits the places that changed the course of his family tree – vienna, Cologne, Ukraine – he finds history repeating itself. He talks to refugees from Syria, people who left their homes at the same age as David and Heinz. And he observes the warning signs: the bigoted excesses of brexit britain; the rise of the Austrian far right; the backlash against refugees in Germany.
by viewing these contemporary experiences through the prism of his family history – and vice versa – Dean creates an impassioned, profoundly timely study of what it means to be a refugee, to be European and, ultimately, to be british.
Jonathan Dean is senior writer for Sunday Times Culture. He has also contributed pieces to Sunday Times News Review, and occasionally writes for The Pool.
Location: London, E17 Available for interview T: @JonathanDean_
W&N Non-fiction • May 2017