Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The Secrets Of The Notebook
Imagine you are a housewife in North West London, you have a job, you are Jewish, you have a husband and English children. You fled Germany as a child with your parents but left behind your beloved grandmother who was eventually killed by the nazis. You are no different from any number of German refugees who became British and live and work in the capital.
There is one thing. A notebook your father showed you when you were 16 years old but warned you not to delve into its meaning. You inherit the notebook on the death of your mother and of course you delve.
You discover that you are descended from a Prussian prince and you are in fact a cousin to Queen Elizabeth and most of the European royal families. Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing is that your beloved grandmother wasn't even Jewish, although she didn't know it herself. And Hitler killed the granddaughter of a European prince he greatly admired.
This is the true story of Eve Haas, an ordinary woman living in Hampstead, NW London. I loved this book because it could have been any of us.
However, it hasn't changed anything in the lives of the Haas family. They are still an ordinary family working for their living. They haven't inherited a palace or land or art collections. I find it a bit sad that having left the Royal fold (or been abandoned by it) three generations ago, you can't go back in. It seems aristocracy is as much a matter of nurture as it is nature (or DNA).