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Librarian's Note: This is an alternate-cover edition for ASIN B01HRZ13O2 The Third Reich is rising. The creeping madness in the heart of Germany will soon stain the entire world. This is the chilling account of one family as they flee for their lives. The Wobsers are prosperous, churchgoing, patriotic Germans living in a small East Prussian town. When Hitler seizes power,Librarian's Note: This is an alternate-cover edition for ASIN B01HRZ13O2 The Third Reich is rising. The creeping madness in the heart of Germany will soon stain the entire world. This is the chilling account of one family as they flee for their lives. The Wobsers are prosperous, churchgoing, patriotic Germans living in a small East Prussian town. When Hitler seizes power, their comfortable family life is destroyed by a horrifying Nazi regime. Baptized and confirmed as Lutherans, they are told they are Jewish, a past always respected but rarely considered. This distinction makes a life-and-death difference. Suddenly, it is no longer a matter of faith or religion; their lives are defined by race. It is a matter of bloodlines. And, in Nazi Germany, they have the wrong blood.Written by a second generation Holocaust survivor, this is a compelling refugee story laced with contemporary overtones.In addition to serving as a fascinating piece of history, A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other is a passionate call to arms for organizations and individuals to properly protect and help the world’s refugees....

Title : A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 33897943
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 373 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other Reviews

  • Henry Sheppard
    2019-04-29 11:19

    This is the story of an old man remembering his youth, back to 1927 in Germany. He lived a peaceful small-town existence, one which was increasingly disrupted as the Nazis took control. He made his escape to the West at age 16 in 1938. The rest of the book deals with his life there and the survival (or not) tales of the rest of his family.My father was a 16 year old in 1939, except he lived in Warsaw. The Nazis invaded Poland, shot his father, and took him back to Germany as a slave for the duration of the war. And although he eventually made his way out of Europe to Australia, he never really recovered from his experiences.The value of this book lies in the lessons implicit in that period of history; how everything can be taken from you, no matter how prosperous you think you are; how political decrees can have ulterior purposes; how government tracking of the population can lead to horrific abuses. In this book are lessons for today.A long, slow, thought-provoking book.

  • Liz
    2019-04-26 08:31

    If you read the blurb, then this book does exactly what it says on the tin- a look into history with a very personal touch. The story is mainly an account from Ralph Webster’s father who recalls his life from an early age until the time he set sail for America after the war. Peppered in between Ralph’s father’s story are chapters by Ralph which gives us a more recent and overall look into who his father was as a man and how as a family they continue to deal with difficult situations. But this book is not only about the life of Ralph’s father Gerhard (or Jerry- his name when he became a naturalized British citizen), it’s about the whole family- sisters, aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins and nieces and nephews. A story of how quickly and unexpectedly lives can change, a story of surviving in a world that suddenly gave Jewish people a ridiculous obstacle course which many did not pass by holding on to their lives. When I say ridiculous, then I mean ridiculous- as in, how in the hell was this allowed to even happen in the first place? What’s wrong with people? How do mad men get into positions that affect human lives? Makes me spitting mad!It goes without saying that because we’re dealing with one of the most horrid events in human history, this story of a life, of many lives, will pull on your heartstrings. There’s nostalgia, melancholy and sadness, but also survival, hope and happiness. I became so invested in the journey of the whole family- mainly because some really loving detail was added to the story. What really makes me despise the historic events is how utterly unfair it all was. But you see… What shines through the tale by Gerhard and Ralph, and what makes me respect this family, is how they narrate the events, how they continue to address the issue in the most graceful way. There is no hateful comments in this story. Just an account of what they endured. And that! That is a show of civility and strength.My rating: 4****. It took me a while to get used to the story-telling structure and there was a bit of repetition of facts which is duly noted by Gerhard!

  • Stacy
    2019-04-29 08:06

    What a beautifully-written, touching story. I found this book deeply compelling, with themes that resonant so closely with the struggles we're facing today. "A Smile in One Eye" traces one family's journey from a comfortable, privileged life to one where they are forced into becoming refugees at the onset of World War II. It was fascinated to listen to Jerry's voice as he grappled with the discovery that, though he was raised as a Lutheran, his country had determined that he was Jewish based on his bloodline- and this fact causes him to lose everything. The author does a terrific job of crafting each character, so that you feel as though you're walking this journey with them. While it would have been easy for the author to only focus on the horrors of this time in our history, the book never loses hope. You can feel Jerry's will to not only survive, but overcome the obstacles he faced. And woven throughout the story is the theme of love- not only the love that Jerry felt for his family as they weathered this crisis together, but also the love that Jerry clearly passed along to his wife and children. I'm so glad that I read this on the weekend when we lost Elie Wiesel, a man who did so much to support human rights- it felt like a wonderful way to honor his memory.

  • Michael Patterson
    2019-05-08 06:06

    "A Smile in One Eye" is the deeply personal account of one young man coming to age as a Jew in Germany while World War II looms on the horizon. This true story offers unavoidable comparisons to the cycles of forced emigration that history has so often repeated, and does so in a manner that allows for the reader to understand both the pain experienced as families are separated and the incredible strength of will that so many demonstrate under terrible circumstances. "A Smile in One Eye" is simultaneously honest, raw, and optimistic. The author deftly introduces the reader to a host of characters who are wholly relateable and whose unique views on life inform their response to the coming war.

  • audrey esposito
    2019-05-18 09:18

    The author Ralph Webster dedicates his book "To those who must flee their homelands for reasons that make not sense. Let you journey to a kinder place to live in freedom and find a better life". This book eloquently chronicles his family's journey is beautifully told through the voice of his father, Jerry.The journey in search of freedom, dignity, security and opportunity begins after being forced from their home in an East Prussian town by the Third Reich and Hitler's terror. The Wobser family, patriotic Germans, with Jewish roots has their family life destroyed, their property confiscated, family members scattering in an attempt to survive the persecution.The author presents a vivid portrait of life in East Prussia before the Nazi horror. We observe the closely knit Wobser family and their extended family. These strong family ties continue to strengthen them, unite them, even when separated; as they struggle to survive and deal individually with the horrors of Nazi Germany, and attempt to make new lives as immigrants in distant lands. Author Webster flawlessly connects these stories.This is, indeed, a true story of one family's survival throughout tumultuous times. The author beautifully intertwines the journeys of the family members as they search for a new life, and attempt to locate the missing family members, and begin life in new surroundings. A powerful story, one family's story, reminds us of past history which should never be forgotten. Yet, it also reminds us of current events occurring in our world today.

  • Marsha Ramsay
    2019-05-03 08:20

    I recently read A Smile in One Eye by Ralph Webster. I believe a good book should be a compelling story about the principal characters. In this case, they are the author's father and grandfather, who come across as remarkable human beings facing terrible threats to their lives in 1930s Nazi Germany.Both face the horror that who they are as human beings no longer matters. Their only identity in this grotesque society is as Jews, all of whom have been labeled racial enemies of the Third Reich. Both try to present their personal humanity, but ultimately have to resort to plans, fraught with great danger, to get out of Germany with their very lives. I found the tension that develops in A Smile with One Eye almost unbearable. And,in the latter part of the book , the author's linkage of his father's final illness with his struggles in Germany in the 1930s is brilliantly and movingly presented.

  • Nicole Morton
    2019-05-19 05:22

    This book is excellent! The author does a wonderful job describing the 3rd Reich's racial persecution of this family. Despite the family being strongly patriotic Germans and practicing Christians, they are unable to hide their Jewish heritage. As a result of Hitler's plan for a pure Arian race, each member of this wonderful, loving, and deeply connected family will experience their own tragedy. Their devotion will be the driving force to find each other again after the war.

  • caroljordan
    2019-05-06 12:03

    Tears come easyThis is one of the best books I have ever read. As an American we cannot imagine the horrific life.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-25 09:19

    I really enjoyed this book, particularly since the author's sister is a dear friend of mine. Ralph Webster moves between the present day, as he watches his father struggle after heart surgery, to the past, as we watch that same father grow up in East Prussia as World War II approaches. This detailed personal account of watching the war approach gave me one of the more interesting perspectives I have had to date on being a Jew in Germany. First, I never realized how shocked many people were to find themselves considered as Jews by the German government, and how they hung on to the belief that, since all governments pass, this one would too. Second, I always wondered why more Jews did not get out of the country. Webster's book illuminated that for me; the Nazis clearly encouraged Jews to leave at first, but as the war cranked up, if they still remained in Germany, all assets were frozen, including bank accounts. Thus, even those who wanted to leave were at the mercy of relatives in other countries who could somehow smuggle them money for passage out. At first the switch between times confused me, but the more I read, the clearer that became. Overall, a very good book, and one that I will keep in my library!

  • Patrisya
    2019-05-20 06:17

    I do not regret that I spent last days of 2016 on reading A Smile in One Eye, A Tear in the Other because the book was the biggest surprise of the last year! We need more books like A Smile in One Eye, A Tear in the Other because an accounts of people who survived unbelievable atrocities of the World War II should not be forgotten. Survivors and those who lost their lives deserve the highest respect. Moreover, we should never trivialize what people are capable because the history has showed us many times that those who were underestimated committed horrifying things. Last but not the least, we should never take anything for granted. Today we live happy life but tomorrow we might be victims of international conflicts, terrorist attacks or domestic upheavals. This beautiful book tells the story of a Jewish Family in the Nazi Germany. When the Hitler seized the power, the affluent and happy Wobsers family had to find a way to escape the madness of destruction. The family lived in small Prussian town where they enjoyed prosperous life. Although they were Lutherans, they were told they were Jews, who did not belong to German nation. Their emotional attachment and patriotis for their country did not matter; they started to be defined by race. Wobsers lost everything they worked for. Their properties and money disappeared. People’s respect, which Wobsers enjoyed for decades, disappeared too. Ralph Webster writes in two narratives. First, written from the perspective of this father Gerhard Udo Albert Wobser, who at the age 16 fled to the West. Looking for the refuge abroad was the only chance for him to survive the War. It was heart- breaking to read that he lost contact with all his family for many years. He did not know if his parents and siblings were still alive. When the War was over, he was able to find some of his relatives, the others did not survive… The story is told with the historical events in the background, which make this book more powerful and make the readers to understand better the tragic situation of the family. The chapters telling the story of Wobsers are followed by Ralph Webster’s memoir about the last days of his father’s life. It has very personal dimension and it is beautiful. I think this part of the book might offer a kind of solace to those who are dealing with lose of their beloved ones.On the other hand, I have small comment on book design. I think that the author spent too much time on description of Gerhard’s childhood. At some moment, I got confused and I was not sure where the book was going. Personally, I would prefer to read more about Gerhard’s time in the British army. I encourage everyone to read A Smile in One Eye, A Tear in the Other because this is beautiful and valuable book.

  • Name Annie
    2019-05-24 09:28

    The courage and resilience of individuals to survive one of history’s most horrifying times—the tumultuous violence of the Nazi regime—has been depicted through numerous narratives and films. But stories, recounted by actual family members of those shocking times, oftimes help define one’s self and find meaning in one’s life. So it is with Ralph Webster. He relates the absorbing story of family members in their quest to escape, and survive, a regime that defines them by their Jewish bloodlines.Employing an epistolary format, Webster compiles his “labor of love” by using two narratives. The first narrator is Gerhard Udo Albert Wobser, the author’s father. In his bildungsroman, Gerhard describes his patriotic German upbringing, his Lutheran religion, and his escape to Scotland and then to the United States. Webster admits to the malleability of memory and that the book may be “flawed with errors and omissions.” However, while there are times where he patches together details from separate events to form a single occurrence, his creative blend of fact and “his interpretation of events” allow him to write a seamless, and meaningful, story. The second narrator, Ralph Webster, uses journal entries to provide an intimate insight into his thoughts and feelings about his father, and about his family history. By using this form of narrative, Webster not only describes the horrors of a world war, he provides a direct connection to the current state of refugees around the world. In his quest for family history, peopled by memorable family members, and through a strong narrative of joy, pain, fear, depravity, and finally, happiness, Webster looks backwards to provide a bridge into the future for his children and grandchildren.As Gerhard remarks, “ Always is never the same. Mela tells me that life has a smile in one eye, and a tear in the other. Life does find a way to create a balance somewhere between smiles and tears.” Ralph Webster in this remarkable book, with superb historical context, has found that balance—this literary piece is a captivating experience for his readers.

  • John Hearne
    2019-05-19 10:24

    The book "a Smile in one Eye - a Tear in the Other" by Ralph Webster touched me on several levels. First I was deeply moved on how a prominent family, one that supported their community and country in wartime and peacetime could suddenly and almost without warning, be labeled as a group no longer tolerated in their own country. The story of the systematic elimination of their rights and assets was particularly hard hitting. We all learned about WWII during school, but I was fascinated about the time from 1933 to 1938. Shortly after finishing the book, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC for the first time. The fact I had read "Smile In One Eye" prior made the visit much more personal.I was also very moved by Jerry's firsthand account of his childhood and with the relationship between Jerry and Ralph. It made me think how difficult the task of research and personal reflection is involved in telling his father's story. What a wonderful job Ralph did in researching his family history and bringing it to life 80 years later. I love the relationships and family portions in this book and how it brings history to life.Reading the book during the US Presidential election cycle, brought many of the same points from the 1930's back to the forefront; race relations, religious freedom, immigration, the power of the media and the power of our government officials. I pray we learn from the past and are not doomed to repeat the mistakes. Thank you Ralph for such a great, personal story at just the right time today.

  • Rose Grandy
    2019-05-04 06:19

    I read this book during a power outage from hurricane Matthew. I found myself reading by candle light as I couldn't stop. The writer did an amazing job of having the reader create a "bond" with all of the family members and a personal connection with their lives. Lives of everyday people being systematically dismantled in the name of greed an sovereign take over by Hitler. I am reminded while reading how recently this took place. Martin L. King said "If you put a frog in hot water it will hop out...but if you heat the water slowly; it will stay and boil. Hope; being the strongest emotion of all, can bring us all to keep expecting the best when all other senses tell us to run. One would like to think that today we have become more sophisticated and above allowing this history to repeat. It continues to happen in our court systems and with local and state government today. Anyone who has suffered loss and humiliation fighting to save their child is forever changed. This families perseverance demonstrates the long term benefits of continuing to "hope"and not live in the past. This book is a testimony that 'though we suffer tragedy; we do not have to suffer a life of tragedy'. I have never written a book review before this one. 5 stars... I will reread because I also enjoy the historical value and want to do a little research as I go.

  • Fran Toolan
    2019-05-08 13:14

    This book is much more complex than the description suggests. The author suggests it was prompted by the Syrian refugee situation, that he wanted to tell the story of people who had everything taken from them and were forced to leave their homes, family, and possessions behind.The author tells the story of a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life and turned out to be the father of just the normal family next door. It is the story of the author's father's life as a German Jew growing up in what is now Poland in the 1930s. It is a fascinating story that will keep history buffs on the edge of their seats.When I first started reading the book, it felt very much like a love letter from an older son to and even older father. By the time I finished, it felt more like a letter of apology. Perhaps it is the most well written obituary of all time. I cannot claim to know the authors mind, but this book is one of the best reads I have had in a long time.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-07 06:06

    I read this book in two all night binges. I could not put it down, it was so compelling. The emotional journey of the Wobster family from post World War I Germany, through the Holocaust and beyond is gut wrenching, touching, funny and relevant – all at the same time. From the first pages, we love this entire family – especially the author’s parents Jerry and Mela. The juxtaposing of the past with Jerry’s illness in the present is particularly effective. This is a tale of a family’s love and devotion to each other as they face horror of the worst kind. Of their optimism and perseverance and their triumph over the worst kind of evil in our society. A cautionary tale for today is hard to miss. A must read.

  • Nena
    2019-04-28 07:21

    "A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other" is a truly powerful and captivating story that compels the reader from the beginning. Author Ralph Webster shares a personal retelling of the incredible, and true, struggles of his father - a young man coming of age - Jew by birth who was raised Episcopalian, and family in Nazi Germany during the onset of WW II and what transpires.The comparisons to the difficulties of the cycle of other, including today's immigrants, are unmistakable. The fear, courage, inspiration, bravery, ingenuity and tenacity sown by the characters are amazing. At the same time, this touching story is sprinkled with humor and warmth. Enjoy this tremendous read.(Ralph and Ginger are personal friends)

  • Patricia
    2019-05-10 08:25

    I read this book as a book club selection. Since our group has read many WW II Holacaust books,I expected this to be more of the same. It wasn't. It provided me with information that was new,characters that I truly cared about and new insight into a much written about period.

  • Katrina
    2019-05-03 10:09

    This book is well written, very enjoyable and in no way depressing despite the World War 2 holocaust subject matter. You can read my blogpost on it

  • Wanda Keith
    2019-05-07 12:05

    I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an amazing read. The story is about a family in Germany who seem to have a wonderful life. There are three sisters and a brother who are adored by loving parents who have worked very hard to give their children a good life. The problem is that they live during the time that Hitler came to power and they have Jewish blood. It is hard to even imagine what this family and millions of others went through in Nazi Germany but the story told by Ralph Webster will take your breath away. Webster unravels the tapestry of his family's life by telling the story through the eyes of his father, who actually lived through this terrible time, as well as through his own words as he watched his father fading from this earth. It is a son's loving tribute to a father who had taught him the meaning of a life well lived. There are many other family members in this story and I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted to know what had happened to each one of them. The story is heartbreaking in many places but inspiring in others when you see that even though this family suffered more than most families could never even imagine, they were never broken.#Amazon

  • Pearl Kirkby
    2019-05-09 06:09

    It has taken me entirely too long to write this review, I know. My sincerest apologies to author, Ralph Webster, whose generosity in providing me with a copy deserves far better from me. I just wanted to make sure that I did this wonderful memoir the justice that it is due. I've done my best, but it isn't near all that I wanted to say.I call this story, "a Smile in One Eye...", a memoir. And so it is, but it is not the memories of the author himself, at least not all of it. Let us say that Ralph Webster took up residence in his father's memories for awhile, and wrote what he saw there. Who else could have seen so clearly, but the son...From his father's childhood before, during and after one of the most horrifying eras in history - World War II and Hitler's Nazi regime - through his family's sad journey away from their homeland of Germany and eventual arrival to the United States, this is the saga of one family's strength and determination to hold on to their self identity, their patriotism to a country which fell into cultural hatred, and their self respect, regardless of how others saw them.The story begins with the author's father, Gerhard Udo Albert Wobser, as yet a child enjoying life in the bosom of a tight knit, loving family. Theirs was the comfortable existence which comes from relative success, wise investments and shared loyalties. The Wobsers were, first and foremost, German. Secondly, they were of the Lutheran faith.Until there came the forerunners - and then the full weight - of the Nazi regime. Then they were Jews.They were not Orthodox Jews in the religious sense, but Jewish by blood. They were steadfast Lutherans and immensely proud and patriotic Germans, living in Pr. Prussia. They fiercely held onto the belief that their loyalty to their country meant something. What they did not know was the depth to which humanity can sink in order for a select few to gain power of the masses, even to the point of genocide. "The Master Race" would have no room, no use, for them. They were Jewish by blood, and in Hitler's mind, that was enough to exterminate an entire culture.Gerhard's father was an intelligent and wise man. He realized what was coming and he and his equally strong willed wife tried to prepare their family for a very austere way of life. Eventually, though, they lost everything...their business, their home and land, their money, right down to only what they could carry...and every single human right that existed at the time...and yet still they held onto their dignity. His father was determined to get his family out of the country, one way or another. Gerhard, himself only a young teenager, was sent away to live and work with a family in Scotland. His siblings (but one) and parents wound up in China for a time and finally, the family were reunited in the United States, sadly missing a few of its members.But this is only the bare bones of the story - the shop window you look through across the town square. The author takes you so deep into the traumas and fear and sense of loss, that you become a part of that family. You feel the snow and chill of winter as you whoosh! down the hill on a child's sled, laugh with those children...and sob when they become outcasts, even to losing the right to an education. You cry with the adults...and raise your chin high with pride for their determination to survive, and you experience the debilitating fear and anxiety that 'not knowing' can elicit. And you become so outraged for these strong people in their losses, that you want nothing more than to go back in time and avenge what was done to them and the other hundreds of people in even this one town.No, this is not a simple tale. This book is raw. One generation is tested beyond endurance, while the next learns to adapt...and then are tested in their own right. And now, Gerhard, or Jerry (for that was the name he eventually adopted), himself, is closing in on his own mortality.The book is written between 'then' and 'now', switching between the horrors of war and loss, and the memories of, and fears for, the father, as seen through the eyes, heart and soul of his son, the author, Ralph Webster.I cried. In the space of 15 hours, I lived with this family, cried with them and ran with them for a decade. Then, just as I was settling in with them, in relative peace, I cried again for the hole that was left...and cried yet again as I understood how peace was able to overcome even this final loss.But there was laughter and cheer and wry smiles, mostly when introduced to 'the sisters', who all seemed very familiar in their similarities to other older sisters I have met!The Wobser's tale is one that is not all that unusual, excepting their success in finally reaching safety (for out of all the thousands, how many actually made it out of that horror with their lives, and that of most of their families?). Many hundreds of thousands suffered the same injustices, loss of home and homeland the same shunning by friends, acquaintances and, sometimes, even other family members...and those who became the victims in the horror that was the Holocaust.What is unusual is the manner in which it is told: by a son who made it his mission to tell that story in as close to first person that he could get.While I fell in love with the Wobser family, I also have fallen in love with Ralph and Ginger, his wife, for the effort and support that they have surely shared during this journey. I cannot imagine how difficult the telling of this story must have been.When I say that I highly recommend this book to all and sundry, I mean ALL and sundry. No matter the genre' you prefer to read, "a Smile in One Eye" will fill you up.

  • Gary D. Derifield
    2019-05-08 12:17

    Excellent. Interestingly written about a German family that were of Jewish heritage, but Christians. The time line starts before WWII when Hitler was coming into power. This is a true story with lots of insight into the complexity of WWII.

  • colleen mansfield-chiong
    2019-05-15 08:20

    Great book!This is not your typical Holocaust story, if there is such a thing, but it is fascinating, heart wrenching and definitely worth a read.

  • Audrey Harris
    2019-04-26 07:33

    This was a different sort of personal autobiography about WWII. The intro was a bit rambling, about country life before the war, and he early war years. Additionally, at first the 2nd author interjecting brief chapters was confusing, as I didn't understand the relevance to certain stories, and why he is a part of the book until later.