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"That Time Cannot Be Forgotten"

A Correspondence on the Holocaust

Subject Jews -- Germany -- History -- 1933-1945.


In a gripping exchange of letters written in the closing years of the 20th century, two men struggle to come to terms with the signal event of their time, the Holocaust. Born in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany in the early part of the 20th century, both bore witness to the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic, Hitler, World War II, and the Holocaust. But their perspectives were entirely different. Emil Sold was a Catholic who served in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Paul Friedhoff, a Jew, escaped from Hitler's Germany and fled to the United States. The two men never met. When he was sent a book written by Sold about the Jews in the region where he grew up, Friedhoff decided to contact the author. A half-century after circumstances had placed them in different worlds, they suddenly found themselves in a correspondence that covered the many issues of that earlier time, in particular those involving the Holocaust -- racism, hatred, religion, philosophy, government, and education. Despite the obstacle of never having seen one another, the two became friends. Their discussions often lead to conflict and only sometimes end in resolution, for theirs is not a genteel rehashing of generally accepted views. They tackle difficult issues and do not blunt their arguments for fear of offending the other. The result is an honest and open exchange of letters that speak as much to the future as they do about the past.