Journalist Dina Gold will discuss the reclaiming of her family property in Berlin as part of a Yom Hashoah program at Main Line Reform Temple.
The Berlin Wall had just come down when BBC investigative journalist Dina Gold, the author of Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin, first saw her family’s building in person.
After a childhood spent hearing about the mythical edifice from her grandmother — “Dina, when the Wall comes down, and we get back our building in Berlin, we’ll be rich!” — Gold traveled to former East Berlin in 1990 from her native England to see it for herself.
A six-story, block-long structure commissioned by her prosperous furrier great-grandfather in 1908, Krausenstrasse 17/18 had not lost any of its capacity to impress; it now served as a headquarters for the East German railway.
In her book, Gold writes, “Wrapped up in a red duffle coat with a hood and a wool hat, perhaps I didn’t look like someone about to claim ownership of a vast and valuable government building.” Yet that’s exactly who she was and what she did. When a building official asked her why she was there, she replied: “I’ve come to claim my family’s building.”
Gold’s endearing mix of humility and tenacity dominates her quest for justice, which is carefully laid out in her book’s suspenseful and multilayered narrative. Readers learn about the history of her affluent and integrated German Jewish ancestors and their prewar life at the heart of the Jewish textiles and fashion industry.
We learn about the complex legal battle to get the building back — a venture shaped both by World War II and the legacy of Eastern European Communism. And we learn about about the journey different members of her family made — some to Palestine, others to Auschwitz.
Gold’s investigative skills serve her well in unraveling some family mysteries, but Stolen Legacy doesn’t read like a dry newspaper account or objective report. Instead, it’s a deeply personal story, one shot through with love and devotion to her mother and grandmother. (The book would make an appropriate — if heady — Mother’s Day gift.)
On May 4, Gold will speak at Main Line Reform Temple as part of its Yom Hashoah program. It will commemorate the Holocaust with a lighting of a six-branched candelabrum and liturgy led by clergy from the kehillah of Lower Merion Synagogue and Main Line Reform Temple.
There also will be a performance by the choir of the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, along with the combined choirs of area congregations. Gold will speak about her book and the ongoing quest for justice on behalf of Holocaust survivors after the service. Event information is below.
WHAT: Commemoration of the Holocaust
WHERE: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood
WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 7 p.m.
FOR MORE INFO: 610-649-7800
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0747