Erica Fischer Aimee and Jaguar

ISBN 13: 9780747526704

Aimee and Jaguar

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9780747526704: Aimee and Jaguar
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In the Berlin of 1942, Lilly Wust was married to a soldier and was the mother of four children. Her quiet domestic life was forever changed when she met and fell in love with Jewish Felice Schragenheim. Aimee and Jaguar, as the two called one another, embarked on an ecstatic affair, exchanging letters and poems and even signing a marriage contract. After only a year, their happiness was destroyed by the Gestapo: Felice was taken away to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Lilly received a last letter from Felice in 1945. Erica Fisher has documented this extraordinary story after spending countless hours talking to 80-year-old Lilly, and to friends and acquaintances of the two women. Her account, together with a collection of photographs, is a witness to an unusual love in a time of extremes.

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Review:

Acclaimed in Germany and England, this tragic and remarkable real-life love story won a Lambda Literary Award when it was first published in America in 1995. Lilly Wust ("Aimée") was a conventional middle-class mother of four, estranged from her philandering husband, when she met Felice Schragenheim ("Jaguar") in 1941. Their passionate affair unfolded against the backdrop of the deportation of Jews from Berlin, but several months passed before Felice could even bring herself to tell Lilly that she was Jewish and living illegally on the streets. "I knew, of course, what it meant," Lilly recalled in old age. "Not for a moment did I think that I too could be in danger. On the contrary, all I wanted to do now was to save her." Lilly's heroic efforts to conceal and protect Felice through the next two years make for painful and inspiring reading. Felice was arrested in August 1944 and sent her last letter to Lilly four months later. In 1981 Lilly was awarded the German Federal Service Cross, though no one could read this as a happy ending. --Regina Marler

About the Author:

Erica Fischer was born in 1943 in England. Her parents were refugees there and returned to Austria with their two children in 1948. Erica Fischer studied at the Interpreting Institute of the University of Vienna, was a founding member of the second wave women's movement in Vienna, and started working there as a journalist in the mid-1970s. She has been living in Germany since 1988 as a freelance journalist, writer, and translator, residing in Berlin since 1994.

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