Jewish women born to immigrant parents in the Bronx in 1944 don’t get romantically involved with men who are cops, have German accents and look like Hitler youth leaders. But reporter Sarah Stern is drawn to Karl Schmidt and intrigued by his tangled family history. The new novel Stumbling Stone chronicles their journey across two continents and the discovery of sinister secrets they never could have imagined.
This compelling work of fiction was inspired by the remarkable histories of the authors—BAIPA member Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab. Freestone is a former Bay area reporter and her life partner Raab is a retired Berkeley police officer whose father was a high-ranking Nazi. A recent article about the authors appeared in the J. (the Jewish Weekly of Northern California).
Besides the novel, which is available at Book Passage, other independent bookstores and through the usual online outlets, Freestone and Raab recently launched a website, stumbling-stone.com to share photos, memories and stories about their families and post-war Europe. They will appear at Book Passage in Corte Madera on August 30 at 7 p.m. to talk about Stumbling Stone.
Journalist/author Peter Y. Sussman says, “Their story is framed as a “stumbling stone,” the literary equivalent of a historical plaque common in Europe. Using fiction to bridge gaps in historical documentation, this fascinating perspective on the holocaust is as unique and unlikely as its authors’ relationship.”