The Wheels of memory

Kempler, Sonia


Growing up with the war on my shoulders.


Sonia was just nine years old when Kristallnacht ended her happy childhood. Her father and older brother escaped to Belgium and Sonia’s mother devised a plan for her two remaining children to escape to Antwerp by train. Sonia, in sole charge of her little brother, Max, carried out a carefully rehearsed performance to keep the inspectors from looking at their (non-existent) passports. Much more of such courage and cool-headedness was required of the little girl when, again alone, for eight months in 1940 she created a life for the two of them in France; when she found herself solely in charge of moving house in Antwerp while her mother was in hospital; and more again when she lived as a Christian in a convent.

Fortunately, there was also Harry Kempler. Theirs was a love story so joyous, constant and true, although with a sudden, tragic ending. Sonia carried on, as bravely as ever. She is a wonderful natural story-teller and has created a gift for her family they will cherish for generations to come, as well as an inspiring story for readers at large.