Introducing my book, HOW FAR: A Love Story Against All the Odds
I recently completed a narrative non-fiction account of my parents' flights from fascism during World War II. HOW FAR: A Love Story Against the Odds is a true family saga about my parents' unusual World War II experiences. The work chronicles how far my father––a newly-minted Jewish doctor––and mother––a beautiful young Jewish woman enslaved in Germany––went physically, emotionally, and morally to save themselves.
In alternating chapters the narrative recounts their separate and audacious escapes from Poland, making for a riveting and heartbreaking read. This tale of loss and love reveals how my parents coped with persecution, danger, and isolation, celebrates their resilience, and shows why they were destined to fall in love once they were both in the United States. Chance and cunning rewarded them despite the odds.
Although much has been written about the suffering of Holocaust survivors interned in concentration camps, the plights of refugees and other displaced Jews are less well known. These exiles often remained silent because they felt that what they endured paled in comparison to the suffering of their brethren in the camps. But the stories of the displaced must be told.
As the distinguished historian and author Blanche Wiesen Cook says about HOW FAR: "Karen A. Frenkel's manuscript is moving, timely, and tragically relevant as the world confronts yet other crises of war, refugees, the ongoing reluctance and failure to rescue."
To bring this story to life, I devoted five years to research, including delving into domestic, European, and Israeli archives, having family documents translated and traveling to Vienna, Kraków, Tarnów, and Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine), where much of the action takes place. I also take readers to Southern Germany, ironically, as well as to Havana, Veracruz, Mexico City, Palestine, and New York.
My work covering cyberwarfare supported the book project. I hope some day to not cover any aspect of war, past or present.
A video of family photos, documents, and footage that parallels the story of HOW FAR.