Fascinating Family Saga of Occidentals in the Orient as War Clouds Loomed over Shanghai

Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family's Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW Camp.Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family’s Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW Camp. by Ester Benjamin Shifren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Ester Shifren’s remarkably detailed work you will re-visit an extraordinary family history

A fascinating family saga of occidentals in the Orient, as war clouds loomed over Shanghai, and then the family’s subsequent POW deprivations at the hands of the Japanese during World War II. From Ester Shifren’s remarkably detailed work you sense her great affection for Shanghai, and in her telling both the vitality and tragedy of its fascinating people are clearly voiced. And in a way this echoes the travails experienced by Ester and her family. They were happy there, and prospered. Then the Japanese invaded.

You must read Hiding in a Cave of Trunks to truly appreciate the unique and unkind path the Benjamin family were subjected to during those troubled times, and to admire the indomitable creative spirit of the author–who was at the time a very young, but plucky little girl. To me, this is what makes this book so unique and appealing: Ms. Shifren tells the story from two perspectives; that of a wide-eyed child (with all the immediacy, exuberance, naivety, and confusion that youth offers) and then of a wise, sophisticated, well-travelled woman (who has done her research, including recorded testimonials from those that were there). It is such a fresh, inspired way to re-visit history.

My final thought when I finished reading Ms. Shifren’s compelling book was wonderment at the fascinating lives “lived” by ordinary people like you and me. And, how fortunate we are that Ester Benjamin Shifren took the time to tell us her story. [Review by Mark Fine, Author “The Zebra Affaire”] The Zebra Affaire Mark Fine

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