The World That We Knew
with Alice Hoffman and Marc Skvirsky
It is WWII in Berlin, Germany, and Hanni Kohn must send her 12-year-0ld daughter Lea away to protect her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.
Marc Skvirsky is Vice President and Chief Program Officer at Facing History and Ourselves. He joined the organization over 37 years ago, helping to develop it from a small educational nonprofit with a handful of staff to an international organization with 9 offices and partnerships around the globe. Marc directs all aspects of Facing History's program implementation in schools, districts, and educational networks, both in the U.S. and internationally. He speaks at conferences and think tanks on topics ranging from school reform and civic education, to Holocaust and genocide studies, and social-emotional learning.