Author: Kim Ablon Whitney
ISBN: 978-0-375-85219-0
Publisher: Alfred Knopf

Click Here To Purchase The Other Half of Life: A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis

As of March 1933, Dachau, the first concentration camp during World War II, was set up for “ the enemies of the state.” Gradually, Jews were prevented from becoming teachers, professors and judges. Moreover, they were forced to give up employment as newspaper editors. Jews lost their status as German citizens, which meant that they could not vote or hold public office. It became a crime for German citizens to marry Jews. Increasingly, Jews were stripped of all rights and were no longer allowed near cinemas, theaters or sport facilities. On the night of November 9-10, 1938 in an organized action called “Reichskristalnacht” or the “Night of the Broken Glass” Nazis destroyed synagogues, homes, shops and killed more than ninety Jews and arrested over twenty thousand.

Kim Ablon Whitney transports us just after Christalnacht, when the Jews were restricted to do anything in their home towns. Surprisingly, there were some affluent Jews who were allowed to board a ship named the MS St. Louis that supposedly would transport them to Cuba, or so they thought.

Based on a true account of the MS St. Louis,  The Other Half of Life: A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis depicts two young travelers and the lives they might have lived and lost in the Holocaust.

In Hamburg, fifteen year old Thomas Werkmann, whose father was Jewish and beaten to death by the Nazis, is encouraged by his mom, who is not Jewish, to board the MS St.Louis. Among the passengers, he meets Priska, a teenager and her little sister Marianne. During the course of the voyage Thomas and Priska share many adventures and eventually fall in love.

After many weeks aboard the Ms St. Louis, they arrive within reach of Cuba, however, they are refused asylum by Cuba, the United States and Canada. The ship is turned back to Germany but through many international appeals, some of the passengers are accepted by France, Holland and England and some, unfortunately, perish in the gas chambers of the Holocaust.

The young lovers are separated and vow to meet five years later in Miami. What will be their fate? Kim Ablon Whitney has crafted a touching love story based on true accounts of this shameful expedition on a ship that was just as ill fated as the Titanic.

As Elie Wiesel said it so well: “The Other Half of Life is an excellent introduction for young readers wishing to understand contemporary history and its traumatic and moral challenges.”

Written for young adults, this heart wrenching account should be a must read for everyone.


Click Here To Purchase The Other Half of Life: A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis