“My mother and father had come from Germany to America; my father first, then he went back to marry my mother and bring her here where he was head of the New York office of a German bank,” author Hillie Mahoney told Hollywood on the Potomac at a book party in her honor at the Georgetown manse of T.H. Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. “Then came 1940 and the bank said, ‘Please come back. Close the office and come back to Germany’ – which he did.” What started out as an adventurous trip to Europe via San Francisco and Japan turned out to be a Journey Interrupted: A Family Without a Country in a World at War.
“In the midst of World War II, a German-American family finds themselves stranded in Japan in this inspiring tale of an extraordinary family adapting to the hazards of fate, and finding salvation in each other. In the spring of 1941, seven-year-old Hildegarde Ercklentz and her family leave their home in New York City and set off for their native Germany, where her father has been recalled to the headquarters of the Commerz & Privat Bank in Berlin. It was meant to be an epic journey, crossing the United States, the Pacific, and Siberia—but when Hitler invades Russia, a week-long stay in Yokohama, Japan becomes six years of quasi-detention, as Hildegarde and her family are stranded in Japan until the war’s end. In this spellbinding memoir, Mahoney recounts her family’s moving saga, from their courage in the face of terrible difficulties—including forced relocation, scarce rations, brutal winters in the Japanese Alps—to their joyous reunion with their German relatives in Hamburg, and their eventual return to New York City in 1950. Richly detailed and remarkably vivid, Journey Interrupted is a story unlike any other—the inspiring tale of an extraordinary family adapting to the hazards of fate, and finding salvation in each other.” Publisher’s notes