In Arthur und Lilly, Fulbright alumna Lilly Maier tells the poignant story of an Austrian Holocaust survivor and her friendship with him.
"I had a wonderful life," Arthur Kern muses, meaning his childhood in Vienna – up to that fateful moment in 1939, when at the age of just ten he is suddenly separated from his family. Hoping to save him from the Holocaust, his Jewish parents send him away to an unfamiliar world with a Kindertransport, or children's transport – a traumatic experience for the ten-year-old. He manages to escape to America via France, but he never sees his family again.
60 years later, while visiting the apartment of his childhood days in Vienna, he makes the acquaintance of eleven-year-old Lilly Maier – a fateful encounter for both of them and one that not only strongly influences Lilly's future, but also leads to Arthur being bestowed with a late legacy of his parents…
Written like a historical news feature, Arthur und Lilly follows the life and rescue of Arthur Kern, from Vienna, Paris, and the South of France to New York City and finally Los Angeles, where he becomes a successful rocket engineer. In more personal chapters, Lilly Maier describes how the life of a modern American Jewish family became intertwined with hers, a young, non-Jewish Austrian girl, and how that friendship helped the Kerns find out more about their pre-war roots.
Lilly Maier will read (in German) from Arthur und Lilly, followed by an open discussion. She studied history in Munich before studying journalism at New York University as a Fulbrighter. Her dissertation on the long-term effects of the children's transport was awarded the "Prize for Outstanding Student Research" in 2014. She works as a guide at the Concentration Camp Memorial Site in Dachau and freelances as a journalist.
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