In March of 1940, as a result of Hitlerís plans to eradicate Jews, 10-year-old Lizzi left Vienna by joining a small transport of children seeking refuge in America. Two weeks later she began her new life in San Francisco, getting a new name, Phyllis, and having to learn a new language.
Her family is scattered on three continents, but linked by letters.
Winner of the
"Best Memoir" award
in Letters" award
Harvard Square Editions
Phyllis Mattson's memoir, War Orphan in San Francisco, is a coming of age story told through family letters. Phyllis wrote her parents details of her new life as she grew into adolescence and became an American, while they tried to parent her long-distance.
During the next six years Phyllis moved in and out of foster homes and an orphanage due to her rebellious behavior, but as she defended herself stoutly in her letters, she gained self-confidence and skills to become an independent, responsible adult.
Her parents tried desperately to join her, but were stopped by incredible red tape and war hysteria. Her motherís letters are unbearably painful, but despite her hard labors in German slave camps, she doesnít give up hope. Her fatherís letters show his resignation to the bureaucracy that has him erroneously incarcerated in Australia.
The moods, hope, fears, and accomplishments are all recounted in the details of the letters, thereby authenticating one familyís experiences during World War II, and the love that sustained hopes of a reunion. Interwoven between the letters is a narrative that depicts the times and places of that era.
Phyllis Helene Mattson is a community college teacher of Anthropology and Health Sciences in Silicon Valley. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, received graduate degrees in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin and Public Health from Harvard.
Phyllis started her
career in health research, culminating in the book, Holistic Health in
Perspective, in 1981, then turned to teaching. In 1989-90 she taught
English at Shandong University in China, and in 1994 joined the Peace
Corps in Nepal. She has two children and one grandchild.
Please note: Steven Creek Press will cease to conduct business as of 12/31/09.
You may still purchase copies of this book at Main Street Cafe, 134 Main St., Los Altos, CA
or through the distributor Beach Lloyd Publishing (ISBN: 0-9761656-1-9)
Would you like Phyllis Mattson to speak to your group?
Contact Phyllis at 408-252-0488 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2004 - 2010 by Phyllis H. Mattson
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