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The Unwanted

May 15 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 7 pm


Speaker: Author Michael Dobbs


FREE – Reserve Your Seats!



Please join us as we welcome to the JMM Michael Dobbs, author of The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between. He will speak on his powerful book which tells the story of a group of German Jews desperately seeking American visas to escape Nazi Germany, and is an illuminating account of America’s response to the refugee crisis of the 1930’s and 40’s. Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, and visa records, Michael Dobbs provides a vivid picture of what it was like to live among increasingly hostile neighbors, waiting for “the piece of paper with a stamp” that meant the difference between life and death. Here is the riveting narrative of a small community struggling to survive amid tumultuous events and reach a safe haven despite the odds stacked against them.


Talk followed by book signing – copies will be available at Esther’s Place, the JMM Shop.


About the author:

Michael Dobbs was born and educated in Britain, but is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent. He is currently on the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His previous books include the bestselling One Minute to Midnight on the Cuban missile crisis, which was part of an acclaimed Cold War trilogy. He lives outside Washington, D.C.


Presented in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The Shapiro Lecture Series is supported by a bequest from Mrs. Gloria L. Shapiro.


About the book:

For the Jewish villagers of Kippenheim, no challenge was as urgent or formidable as escaping Nazi Germany, often by acquiring American visas. In his book, The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between, Michael Dobbs painstakingly documents how several members of this small community struggled to find refuge and what obstacles stood in their way.


Deported to unoccupied France in October 1940, the refugees  continued their visa quest, even as the Nazis planned further deportations to the East. Interned in grim concentration camps, they became entangled in bureaucratic red tape. Some perished in the camps; others were deported to Auschwitz. Those who survived by reaching the U.S. understood all too well that an American immigration visa often meant the difference between life and death.


Join Dobbs as he describes these individual stories of escape and tragedy and explores the human impact of Americans’ response to the refugee crisis in the 1930s and 1940s.


Published by Knopf in association with the United States Holocaust Museum, The Unwanted is part of a groundbreaking educational initiative that includes the new Americans and the Holocaust exhibition in Washington, DC.


This program is presented in relation to the Stitching History from the Holocaust exhibit, on display April 7 – August 4, 2019. Tickets to public programs include admission to the Museum.


May 15
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm