Twenty Years ago I suddenly needed a place to live and a friendly man from Israel kindly let me stay in a room in his flat in London. Years later we met again at a Film Festival but then we lost contact for good.
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You must imagine my joy when a few days ago he wrote me these lines from Jerusalem:

“I finally finished reading ‘The Luck of the Weissensteiners’ and been wanting to thank you so much for this.
Christoph, you have written an extraordinary excellent book. I enjoyed it so much and really got attached to the characters and their fate.
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You have such good talent in telling a story in a most convincing way while keeping the reader in suspense throughout the book.
Your ability to describe the complexity of different characters and make the reader care for them all is remarkable.
I found myself sympathizing not only with the obvious, such as Greta, Wilma, Jonah and Alma, Edith and Ester, the countess.. but even characters such as Johanna managed to gain some sympathy with me despite their problematic nature. old-town-bratislava-james-a-stewart
Above all, you managed to demonstrate the absurdity, cruelty and ugliness of war and intolerance, hatred and prejudice they bring.
You showed so well how war can influence so much the fates and believes of people from different backgrounds. How religion and political views can twist everything and how some people don’t change despite all this.
I liked very much the way the book is embroidered – starting with the ever so romantic promising first episode that is very quickly, just like in real life, shattered into the despair, fear and survival of the main characters – and then, after the war, the expansion to more and more people that bring a broader picture of the aftermath to those years.
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I think the book can make a great film too.

Your sensitivity and sensibility towards the Jewish characters and your general knowledge about the Jewish people has moved me a lot of course, Christoph. I especially liked how you showed the Weissensteiners as non-religious (and even converted) and yet still prosecuted.

I really liked how you added Gay and Lesbian characters to the story. It works really well.
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I learnt so much from the book about the history of world war II and Czechoslovakia in particular.
Before, I knew very little about how the war effected non-Jewish people and very little about Czechoslovakia and about the Sudeten Germans.
It was amazing to see what people went through and what they had to do to survive. Displaced people
In Israel, you know, the education system has always concentrated on teaching the Jewish Holocaust and very little about the war itself.
Whole schools travel every year to Poland and visit the concentration camps, but very little is being taught about the fate of others such as gypsies, communists, gays and lesbians in the war and the leading conclusions lack the understanding of tolerance to the other.
For the general public here, it is only in recent years that books and documentaries about other aspects of the war are being exposed – but certainly not enough.
That’s why I truly believe that a book such as The Weissensteiners is A MUST for the Israeli reader.
The problem is that most readers here would not read it unless it’s translated into Hebrew.
I do hope that you may consider publishing it in Hebrew at some point. I think there is great importance to that.”


Thank you so much for this letter and the revived friendship!

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.

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