May 22, 2010
Book Review: Café Berlin
A much too realistic novel about the stormy times in Germany from the end of the Weimar Republic to the end of WWII
As a novel it is a page turner that I finished in under two days. As history, it was painful for me for its historical accuracy.
Café Berlin is not about its namesake boite but about a young Sephardic Jew's adventures in NAZI Germany. Daniel's family is in the spice trade in Damascus. At age 17 he is sent to Berlin to the care of Herr Landau, an important customer. A year or so after his arrival, Daniel is expelled from the house of his host whereupon he buys and renovates the Kafe Kaukasus which becomes his center of operations.
Café Berlin, the novel, is racy, spicy, decadent, funny and infinitely sad, a very enjoyable mixture set in historical context.
After avoiding Germany and Berlin, my place of birth, for decades, I am now in search of the real Café Berlin.
by Harold Nebenzal