Skip to content Skip to navigation

VIRTUAL BOOK TALK: The Lost Café Schindler: One Family, Two Wars, and the Search for Truth

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested

VIRTUAL TICKETS | Members and VESP holders free and Visitors $5


VIRTUAL BOOK TALK: The Lost Café Schindler: One Family, Two Wars, and the Search for Truth

Meriel Schindler in convesation with Karen Remmler

Meriel Schindler spent her adult life trying to keep her father, Kurt, at bay. But when he died in 2017, he left behind piles of Nazi-era documents related to her family’s fate in Innsbruck, Austria, and a treasure trove of family albums reaching back to before World War I. Meriel was forced to confront not only their fractured relationship, but also the truth behind their family history.

The Lost Café Schindler re-creates the journey of an extraordinary family, whose relatives included the Jewish doctor who treated Hitler’s mother when she was dying of breast cancer; the Kafka family; and Alma Schindler, the wife of Gustav Mahler. The narrative centers around the Café Schindler, the social hub of Innsbruck. Famous for its pastries, home-distilled liquors, live entertainment, and hospitality, the restaurant attracted Austrians from all walks of life. But as conditions became untenable for Jews in Austria during the Nazi era, the Schindlers were forced to leave, and their café was expropriated.

Meriel reconstructs the color and vibrancy of life in prewar Innsbruck against the majestic backdrop of the Austrian Alps, as well as the creeping menace and, finally, terror of the Nazi occupation. Ultimately, The Lost Café Schindler is a story of tragic loss―several relatives disappeared in Terezín and Auschwitz―but also one of reclamation and reconciliation. Beautifully written, it is an unforgettable portrait of an era and a testament to the pull of family history on future generations.

Meriel Schindler is an employment lawyer, partner, and head of a team at the law firm Withers LLP, and is a trustee of the writing charity Arvon. She lives in London with her husband, Jeremy, and has three adult children.
Karen Remmler is the Mary Lyon Professor of Humanities and Chair of German Studies and of Film Media Theater at Mount Holyoke College. Her interdisciplinary publications and teaching in English and German focus on the politics and cultures of transnational memory in the aftermath of atrocity and war with an emphasis on memorialization and mourning in the digital age. She is also a former director of the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College and the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center in Massachusetts. 

PURCHASE The Lost Café Schindler from our partner, Harvard Book Store.

Assistive Listening Devices image

Auto-generated captions are available for most virtual programs. To request live captioning or other accommodations, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 at least four business days prior to the event.