Francoise Frenkel

Françoise Frenkel (14 July 1889 – 18 January 1975) was a lifelong book lover,[1] bookstore owner and author. With her husband, in 1921 she opened the “Maison du Livre français”, Berlin‘s first specialist French book store, which she ran till 1939.[2][3]

Frenkel was a Pole of Jewish descent. On 27 August 1939 she belatedly escaped from Germany as a passenger on a special train to Paris which had been organized by the French embassy.[4] Shortly before June 1940, which was when the invading German army reached Paris, she joined the thousands of Parisians fleeing to the south of the country. As the Nazi invaders tightened their grip on southern France she was forced to flee again, crossing into Switzerland near Annecy, on her third attempt, in June 1943.[5] She survived.[6]

She wrote an account of her adventures which was published (in French) in September 1945 by Verlag Jehebe, a Genevan publishing house that has long ago disappeared. Very few copies were produced and the book was quickly forgotten. However, 35 years after the author’s death it was rediscovered in a car boot sale in southern France. “Rien où poser sa tête” (“No place to rest her head”) was republished in 2015, also being translated into German for the first time.[7] It now found a wider resonance, commended by the respected political journalist Robert Fisk both for its messages and for its “abrupt, shocking yet delicate prose, cruelty and beauty combined in just over 250 pages”.[8]

Books in order of publication:

A Bookshop in Berlin2019
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