February 2001
Hyde Park Living

Local professor, Cynthia Crane,
Ph.D. publishes book:
 Divided Lives: The Untold Stories of Jewish-Christian Women in Nazi Germany
By Patty Craft DeBlasis

A work in progress

Maybe you saw her there at the corner table of the Hyde Park branch of the Hamilton County Library? A petite woman with blond hair, busily typing on her notebook computer the book that has been published under the title: Divided Lives: The Untold Stores of Jewish-Christian Women in Nazi Germany. Cynthia Crane, Ph.D. is a University of Cincinnati English professor currently living in Oakley, and formerly a resident of Hyde Park.

Dr. Crane told us with heartfelt appreciation, "I owe many kudos to the librarians there who were a big support team! One librarian in particular, Kay Peters, was a great friend. Kay was always cheerleading. It (the book) was her dream as much as mine. She was a brilliant, intelligent woman. Her death was an inspiration to me to finish this book." Kay Peters lost her battle with cancer last year.

Divided Lives grew out of the dissertation Dr. Crane wrote for her Ph.D. in 1996. Originally written in a "Question and Answer" format, she felt lucky to have found a publisher interested in taking on the project. "I was this naïve grad student," she tells us, but her naivete paid off in that she wasn't fearful of sending out the manuscript as it was. Dr. Crane won a Fulbright scholarship in 1996 and traveled to Germany to research the Mischlinge, what Hitler called children of mixed Christian-Jewish marriages.

Traveling to Germany to hear women's words first-hand

It took Dr. Crane six months to find the first woman willing to share the stories about her experiences, for there remains even today a sense of silencing among the women; the belief that it may still be unsafe to talk about their own stories. For example, a German friend had accompanied Dr. Crane while she interviewed Ruth Yost for the book. Ruth asked the friend over and over, "Are you a Nazi? Are you a Nazi?" Even in the late 1990's, Ruth Yost still showed deep-seated concern of Germans, a testament to the fear and suffering suffered by Yost and so many others.

All of the interviews Dr. Crane conducted were in German. So once the arduous task of collecting stories was completed, Dr. Crane faced the daunting work of translating those interviews and first-hand accounts into English. And in some places in the book, she kept the German description intact to preserve the details. She told us, "It was really tricky. I kept some of the German words and phrases because they are not really translatable."

As many of us realize as we grow into adults, and are able to look at our families from a slightly clearer perspective, Dr. Crane always knew there was a powerful story to be told about her history. "My father was beaten every day by his Nazi teacher." And simply because his name sounded Jewish. Dr. Crane's story, and the stories of so many brave women, bring a valuable meaning to the suffering of so many.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers hosts an evening with the author

On November 28, 2000, Joseph-Beth Booksellers hosted an evening with the author. By 7:30, when the program was to begin, the area by the store's fireplace was packed with close to one hundred people who had come to hear Dr. Crane speak and read from her work.

Her father arrived, as any proud papa might, in a t-shirt worn over his work clothes. The t-shirt was emblazoned with a photo of himself and his daughter, and the words: I am the proud parent of an author. It was a wonderful night for everyone.


"I believe in personal testimonies as you do -- they have no equal in their weight of truth and memory."

  Elie Wiesel , Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

"Impassioned and insightful stories of life in Germany before, during, and after the Nazi years, as told to an accomplished interviewer. Cynthia Crane lends a sympathetic ear to the women she confers with. This makes for a gripping narrative about the 'mixed breed,' the oft-forgotten 'children of the Holocaust.' Divided Lives is a well-written, intelligent must-read."

  John E. Dolibois US Ambassador
  Interrogator at Nuremberg Trials

For more information

Visit Dr. Crane's website at

There you will find excerpts from the book, endorsements and additional information about the author. You may also order the book through the website, but the book is available at most local bookstores.

Copyright 2000. All Rights Reserved.

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