Shared Sorrows

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title Shared Sorrows


On the morning after Kristallnacht, Toby Sonneman’s father walked through broken glass to apply for the visa that saved him from the fate of so many during the Third Reich. In examining her own family history, the author discovered the similarities between the fate of the Jews and the Gypsies in the Holocaust, both peoples selected on racial grounds for extermination by the Nazis.

She traveled with an American Gypsy survivor to Munich, where she stayed with the formidable Rosa Mettbach. This is the story of Rosa and other members of an extended family who survived the Holocaust. Shared Sorrows tells the story of a Gypsy family against the backdrop of a Jewish one, detailing and examining their shared sufferings under the Nazis.

My father brought a spool of thread with him from Germany when he came to America in 1939. And another spool of thread, one in my imagination, unwinds slowly and unpredictably, sometimes fraying or tangling. It's a thin and delicate thread that leads me to the Gypsies, to the family that I meet in Germany, the country of so many tangled memories and emotions. And as I talk to them and I listen, following the threads of their stories backwards in time to the 1930s and 40s and before, their memories start to become mine as well.


Toby Sonneman, a founding member of the Romani-Jewish Alliance, is the author of numerous articles on the fate of the Gypsies in the Holocaust as well as Fruit Fields in My Blood: Okie Migrants in the West.


"This riveting, sometimes quite graphic, well-written an essential purchase for college, public and research libraries."  —AJL Newsletter"A great piece of oral history and an excellent addition to the body of Holocaust literature."  —Counterpoise"A touching collection of Holocaust memories that builds a bridge between the Gypsy and Jewish experiences."  —Holocaust and Genocide Studies