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“What are the qualities of a heroine tested and shaped by history, not by myth? She must have unflinching intelligence, wit, will, and honesty in the face of near-unbearable trials. Franci Rabinek Epstein was a worldly, pleasure-loving dress designer when the Nazi’s invaded Prague; she endured and prevailed when they sent her to Terezin, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Her voice is riveting whether she's outwitting Josef Mengele, grappling with her own despair, discussing Dostoevsky with another prisoner, delousing her hair with kerosene or improvising a Cocteau monologue for a show the women inmates stage with canny defiance. She survived the worst of her times; she speaks to the best of ours.” — Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Negroland: A Memoir

“By bringing her mother’s vivid and engrossing memoir into the public eye, Helen Epstein has made another important contribution to our knowledge of the Holocaust in Czechoslovakia. Franci’s War is full of passion, heartache and love — shedding light on humanity’s darkest era and providing added testimony to the incredible human capacity for resilience.” — Madeleine K. Albright, Former Secretary of State 

“Rarely does a Holocaust survivor have such penetrating insight as Franci Rabinek Epstein. This is a most remarkable memoir, told without self-pity, but with deep psychological astuteness about herself and the people she encountered. I didn't want it to end.” — Eva Fogelman, PhD, Pulitzer Prize nominated author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust 

“An incredible narrative, so finely detailed and distinctive, and a wholly consuming read. I gained a totally new insight into the traumas of the Holocaust and couldn’t put it down. Franci definitely had the writer in her, not to mention astonishing resilience and resourcefulness.” — Susannah Sirkin, Director of Policy, Physicians for Human Rights 

“Franci’s War is a riveting account of how a young, spunky fashion designer in Prague survived the Holocaust, written with remarkable clarity, candor, and intelligence. A page-turning tale that makes for essential reading for today’s world. Helen Epstein provides a fascinating afterword and endnotes to her mother’s story, resulting in a profound meditation on a mother-daughter relationship formed by love and trauma. A deeply moving, extraordinary collaboration between mother and daughter in telling the story of their lives.” — Helen Fremont, national bestselling author of After Long Silence and The Escape Artist

“Franci’s War is a compelling and candid memoir. She spares no one, least of all herself from her observations and impressive understanding of life within the concentration and death camps and beyond. A brave, timeless, important work.” — Michael Berenbaum, Professor, American Jewish University

“[A] striking memoir… useful testimony from an unspeakably terrifying era.” ⁠— Kirkus

“In a compelling voice, [Rabinek Epstein] illuminates the horror, shock, small graces, and capriciousness of surviving the Holocaust… This worthy account is testament to why it is as important as ever to read about the impacts of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and racial hatred, as well as the beliefs that cause some people to commit atrocities while others pretend to look away.” ⁠— Library Journal

"The diary is one of the most vivid and astonishing documents about the time of horror... Franci’s diary makes the incomprehensible a little more understandable in an honest, laconic, and sometimes comical way." — EMMA Magazin November-December 2003

"With great openness, the courage to be (self-)critical and an unexpected sense of humor, [Franci Rabinek Epstein] describes from the perspective of a once well-off young woman in her early twenties how she was able to survive: through solidarity, friendship, ingenuity and the courageous seizing of opportunities as she did when meeting with camp doctor Josef Mengele, to whom she pretended to be an electrician." — Perlentaucher, Das Kulturmagazin

Franci Rabinek age 17 (1).jpg
Franci (old nose) POSING in 1939.jpg
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