Franci Rabinek Epstein

Franci's War
  • Franci's War

  • Discover unrelenting spirit and strength in the extraordinary true story of Franci: a woman who survived the holocaust against all of the odds

    'Achingly moving, gives much-needed hope. Deserves the status both as a valuable historical source and as a stand-out memoir' Daily Express

    'A story that needs to be heard' 5***** Reader Review
    ______

    In 1942 Franci Epstein, a young Jewish woman, was imprisoned in Terezin, a concentration camp close to her home in Prague.

    Few could expect anything other than death. But for Franci it was the start of a journey that would take her into the very heart of Nazi genocide.

    Through a combination of guile, ingenuity, endurance and sheer bloody mindedness, Franci survived not one but five death camps, including Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

    In this astonishing memoir, unpublished for 50 years, Franci lays bare the appalling sacrifices she and other women had to make to survive.

    It is a story of hope in the face of suffering; of one woman's determination to live.
    ______

    'First-hand accounts of life in Nazi Death camps never lose their terrible power but few are as extraordinary as Franci's War' Mail on Sunday

    'Inspiring . . . Franci is someone many women today will be able to identify with' 5***** Reader Review

    'Remarkable' Eva Fogelman

    'A heartbreaking story of survival . . . fascinating' 5***** Reader Review

    'Deeply moving and extraordinary' Helen Fremont

    'Extremely moving, demonstrated amazing strength of will and determination to survive' 5***** Reader Review

    'Incredible' Susannah Sirkin

    'Devastating' Booklist

Franci Rabinek Epstein was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1920 and educated at the Ecole Francaise, Lycee de Prague, and the Deutsches Staatsrealgymnasium before dropping out to apprentice in her mother's haute couture Salon. At 18, Franci became the owner of the Salon, though the family were eventually forced to 'aryanize' their Jewish business. A newlywed when she arrived at Terezin, she regarded the Nazi concentration camps as her university. After liberation by the British in April 1945, Franci would finally return to Prague, the only immediate member of her family to have survived. She married Kurt Epstein in 1946 and then, after the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948, she emigrated to New York City and established a new fashion salon on the Upper West Side. She lectured at universities on her experience during the war before dying of a brain aneurysm in 1989. Her daughter, journalist Helen Epstein, has written the afterword for Franci's War.

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