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When Paula dies, she takes a secret to the grave. Her daughter and granddaughter will never know who their father or grandfather was. With courage and tenderness, Sandra Hoffmann tells the life story of her grandmother Paula, opposing the power of silence with the power of language.
She grew up under the special protection of her grandmother Paula. When her nightly August 2017 fears came, it was Paula’s bed that she crawled into. But would she have had these nightly fears if it hadn’t been for her grandmother? Sandra Hoffmann’s memoir Paula reads like a family saga. With sincerity and great empathy, she reveals the life of this woman, to whom she was oppressively close yet of whom she knew so little. A woman who must have been happy once, but whose young bridegroom died in the war. A woman, who begins to keep silent out of fear or shame, who never reveals the father of her child, and brings up her daughter on her own until the shelter of silence becomes a prison in which love and empathy are stunted. In this intimate literary text, narrated with tremendous conviction, Sandra Hoffmann tells the story of how protection becomes control, affection becomes anger, and how she finally manages find release and let love in.