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"Bach, Baroque -- and Bonsai," Michael Levin's 1983 New York Times article about Leipzig in East Germany, written after his initial 1982 trip there with Anna and Hirsch, was a gateway to Papers, Please: A Twentieth Century Odyssey, the private digital source-book from which Two Pianos is drawn.  The illustrated first page of that article, plus its full text from the NY Times digital archive, are here.

In A Border Town in Poland: A 20th Century Memoir Anna's husband Hirsch tells in his own words his propulsive story of life in the Tsarist Pale, teenage smuggling to feed his family under Imperial German Occupation (WW I), his 'adult adoption' by a childless German Lutheran couple (1921), his entrepreneurial fur-trading and petroleum careers in Weimar and Nazi Germany, how he met and married glamorous Anna, and their escapes with their young daughter Tania (b. Dec. 1933) to British Palestine (1936) and the U.S. (1937-38).  Based on first-person interviews conducted 1979-85 and amplified by Hirsch, his colorful tale is enhanced by historical context, numerous illustrations, and vivid letters from friends and family scattered around the world or trapped under Soviet, Third Reich and East German regimes.  A final chapter carries his story (and those of his adoptive mother and surviving relatives) through WWII and the post-War years.


“Aryanization” in Leipzig:  Driven Out. Robbed.  Murdered. (Exhibit Catalogue; Leipzig City History Museum, 2009)

Berg, Mary, Warsaw Ghetto:  A Diary (L.B. Fischer, NY, 1945)

Bliven, Bruce, “Thank You, Hitler!” The New Republic (10 Nov. 1937)

Gold, Fran, "Survivor Recalls Ghetto," The Jewish Horizon, p. 12 (25 March 1993) (interview with Jola Hoffman)

Goldsmith, Martin, The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany (Wiley, NY, 2001) (intertwined with the history of the Kulturbund)

Lukas, Richard C., Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust (U. Kentucky press, 1989) (containing interviews with Zofia Rontaler and her sister-in-law, Krystyna Lipińska, Resistance figures later honored as "Righteous Gentiles" at Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) for helping save Halina and Jola in the Warsaw Ghetto)

Preil, Joseph J., ed., Holocaust Testimonies:  European Survivors and American Liberators in New Jersey (Rutgers Univ. Press, NJ, 2001)

For a more extensive bibliography, please contact us for permission to access pertinent parts of the Papers, Please source-book.