Else Ury



Twelve Wounds
by Carmen Rodriguez and Steven Lehrer

Published June 2006
Trade Paper
SF Tafel Publishers
ISBN-10: 0595401007
ISBN-13: 978-0595401000
196 pages

A young Brooklyn assistant district attorney, Carmen Rodriguez, is called to investigate the murder of a Hasidic Jew. The Shomrim, the Hasidic community patrol, apprehended a suspect, Ramon Perez, a few minutes after the murder.
During the course of her investigation, Carmen learns that one of three eyewitnesses to the crime, Moshe Herz, is mentally unstable and may have a crack problem. Moshe's landlady tells Carmen that Moshe has a dybbuk.

Tightly plotted, suspenseful, and funny, Twelve Wounds provides a sobering insight into what sometimes passes for criminal justice in New York City.

Kirkus Review

A put-upon prosecutor investigates a racially charged murder in this spicy legal drama.

It seems like an open-and-shut case when a Hasidic Jewish man is stabbed to death on a Brooklyn street, and his alleged assailant, identified by three witnesses, is caught minutes later by the Hasidic Shomrim foot patrol. It’s 1991, the Crown Heights crime scene is a powder keg of ethnic tension, and the perp is a Puerto Rican man. The Hasidim want a quick conviction, while the Hispanic community cries racial profiling. Assistant district attorney Carmen Rodriguez–used to being on the receiving end of bigoted presumptions–finds herself navigating a political minefield. Then the witnesses turn out to be unreliable (one, a Talmudic scholar, seems to be possessed by the spirit of a dead crack whore), an alibi surfaces for the defendant, a diamond is mysteriously stolen from the dead man’s safe and Carmen wonders whether she’s prosecuting the right man. Alas, her commitment to justice often clashes with her instinct for self-preservation. Carmen’s boss, eager to placate the politically powerful Hasidim, insists that she sweep the case’s untidy details under the rug, while cagey defense counsel Pai Ho Wu threatens to publicize Carmen’s porno pics from her student days unless she reveals prosecution secrets. Out of Carmen’s travails the authors craft a crime procedural that’s lively...Most of the trial scenes are handily stolen by the riveting Wu. The authors stock the story with sharply drawn characters (the eternally kvetching but tough-as-nails presiding judge is a hoot), cannily observed procedural and intriguing courtroom twists that will keep readers guessing.

An engrossing tale about the difficulty of discerning justice through the murk of New York’s melting pot.

From Lemberg to Bordeaux: A German War Correspondent’s Account of Battle in Poland, the Low Countries and France, 1939-40
by Leo Leixner
Translated, introduced, and annotated by Steven Lehrer
Published March 2017
Trade Paper
SF Tafel Publishers
ISBN-10: 1543059252
ISBN-13: 978-1543059250
506 pages

From Lemberg to Bordeaux is Viennese war reporter Leo Leixner’s account of his front line experiences, from Poland in 1939 to France in 1940. From Lemberg to Bordeaux went through four editions and sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies by 1942. Leixner was assigned to various infantry companies and documents his moves from one to the next. During attacks he was often at the front. Leixner is an engaging writer. He had a doctorate in German literature from the University of Graz, with a thesis entitled Mohammed in German Poetry, and was himself a poet; indeed, his battle accounts are almost blank verse. Leixner died while crossing the Kuban River in Russia, 14 August 1942, part of a flotilla. At 5 a.m. he was standing upright in a boat when he was killed with a single shot through the head.

Tanks Break Through! A German Soldier’s Account of War in the Low Countries and France, 1940
by Alfred-Ingemar Berndt
Translated, introduced, and annotated by Steven Lehrer
Published November 2016
Trade Paper
SF Tafel Publishers
ISBN-13: 978-1539810971
ISBN-10: 1539810976
321 pages

There are many eye-witness accounts of the military disaster that led to the fall of France, 1940, from the Allied point of view. For a look at the experiences of the common German soldier, there is no better source than Tanks Break Through! written by Alfred-Ingemar Berndt, a journalist and close associate of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. When the 1940 attack was in the offing, Berndt joined the Wehrmacht and afterward published his recollections. Berndt’s memoir is a tale of German military prowess, valor and violent death, a Teutonic Iliad. His prose is often thrilling and brings to mind Woody Allen’s remark, “I just can't listen to any more Wagner. I'm starting to get the urge to conquer Poland.” Hitler sensed French weakness and unwillingness to fight. Berndt writes of the formidable foe the French faced.

Wartime Sites in Paris: 1939-1945
by Steven Lehrer
Published September 2013
Trade Paper
SF Tafel Publishers
ISBN-13: 978-1492292920
ISBN-10: 1492292923
336 pages, table of contents, photographs, index, appendix, bibliography, notes

Paris, the City of Light, is the most popular tourist destination in Europe. Celebrated in painting, literature, film, and song, Paris never ceases to delight its millions of visitors. This book is a guide to historical sites in Paris associated with the Second World War, which official French histories call La Guerre 39-45. Understandably, the dark years of the German Occupation are a time the French prefer not to remember at all. Why should they? Would anyone expect them to put a plaque on the former Gestapo headquarters at 74, avenue Foch or 9, rue des Saussaies? As the Resistance developed, screams from the interrogation rooms kept neighbors awake at night. But these places, all described here, are harrowing reminders, often unmarked, of a time of humiliation and privation, unspeakable cruelties and brutal murders, but also of heroism and hope.

"Lehrer is right that Paris, and France more generally, still has not fully come to grips with its years of occupation and collaboration."
H-Net Reviews

Nesthäkchen Series
First English edition of the German children's classic
by Else Ury
Translated and annotated by Steven Lehrer
Published July 2014-2016
Trade Paper
SF Tafel Publishers

A Nesthäkchen is the youngest child in a family. Else Ury's Nesthäkchen is a Berlin doctor's daughter, Annemarie Braun, a slim, golden blond, quintessential German girl. The ten book series follows Annemarie from infancy (Nesthäkchen and Her Dolls) to old age and grandchildren (Nesthäkchen with White Hair). 

Else Ury (1877-1943) was a children's author murdered at Auschwitz. Her books are German literary classics. Steven Lehrer translated volumes 1-6 of the series.