....The Book

The recent history of the Alexander Haus starts with a book: Thomas Harding's 'The House By The Lake'. 

In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been her ‘soul place’ as a child, she said – a holiday home for her and her family, but much more – a sanctuary, a refuge. In the 1930s, she had been forced to leave the house, fleeing to England as the Nazis swept to power. The trip, she said, was a chance to see it one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Nearly twenty years later Thomas returned to the house. It was government property now, derelict, and soon to be demolished. It was his legacy, one that had been loved, abandoned, fought over – a house his grandmother had desired until her death. Could it be saved? And should it be saved?

He began to make tentative enquiries – speaking to neighbours and villagers, visiting archives, unearthing secrets that had lain hidden for decades. Slowly he began to piece together the lives of the five families who had lived there – a wealthy landowner, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned composer, a widower and her children, a Stasi informant. All had made the house their home, and all – bar one – had been forced out. The house had been the site of domestic bliss and of contentment, but also of terrible grief and tragedy. It had weathered storms, fires and abandonment, witnessed violence, betrayals and murders, had withstood the trauma of a world war, and the dividing of a nation.

As the story of the house began to take shape, Thomas realized that there was a chance to save it – but in doing so, he would have to resolve his own family’s feelings towards their former homeland – and a hatred handed down through the generations.

The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking and revelatory new history of Germany over a tumultuous century, told through the story of a small wooden house. Breathtaking in scope, intimate in its detail, it is the long-awaited new history from the author of the bestselling Hanns and Rudolf.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (24 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434023221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434023226
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.8 x 24 cm

To order THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE click here



Sommerhaus am See

Ein Ort für die Seele

In den 20er Jahren wurde das Haus am See das Sommerparadies für die jüdische Familie Alexander. Für Elsie Alexander, Großmutter von Autor Thomas Harding, ist es auch nach der Verfolgung und Vetreibung durch die Nazis ein Ort für die Seele geblieben. Danach pachtete Will Meisel, Komponist und NSDAP-Mitglied, das Anwesen. Im Krieg bot das Haus seiner Familie Zuflucht. Nach der Teilung Deutschlands lag es in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone und späteren DDR, direkt an der Grenze. Wieder wurde es zur Zuflucht für Familien. Sie sahen, wie am Gartenende die Mauer gebaut wurde und wie sie fiel.

Thomas Harding hatte seine Großmutter nach der Wende einmal dorthin begleitet. Viele Jahre später kam er wieder. Es war wie ein Wunder. Das Haus stand immer noch, inzwischen aber verlassen und dem Verfall preisgegeben. Er beschloss, die Geschichte dieses Hauses und der Menschen, die in ihm gelebt hatten, zu erzählen. Und nicht nur das: Er konnte die Stadt Potsdam, inzwischen Besitzerin des Grundstücks, davon überzeugen, dass dieses Haus Denkmalschutz verdient.

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Aus dem Englischen von Daniel Bussenius
Deutsche Erstausgabe
400 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-423-28069-3
1. Auflage, 18. Dezember 2015
Zurzeit (noch) nicht lieferbar. Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.







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