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The Windsor Caper

A delightful children’s adventure story by 89 year old Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor, social activist and US Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree.

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Her only novel, it represents a fascinating chapter in her extraordinary life.

“This is the only book I’ve written that is not rooted in pain. It’s about my love of English history and The Royal Family and its purpose is to give pleasure to children of all ages, everywhere”. (GWK 2013)

Infused with drama and mystery the story follows Julie on an amazing journey. A once in lifetime trip from Nevada to London soon develops into a wild and scary adventure. She and cousin Alysa find themselves locked for the night in Windsor Castle. There they meet historic characters and fantastic creatures?—?are they dreaming or not? Things build up to a terrifying climax. Suddenly they find themselves caught up in a daring art theft. Will they solve the mystery and thwart the robbers before it’s too late?

 

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Author Biography

Gerda Weissmann Klein was born in 1924 in Bielsko, Poland. She was only fourteen years old when the Nazis invaded. Her parents and brother, died during the Holocaust but Gerda was destined to survive.

She spent six years enduring a ghetto, a series of labour camps and a 350-mile death march from the Polish-German border to southern Czechoslovakia. In 1945, on the eve of her 21st birthday she was liberated by American Lieutenant, Kurt Klein. The couple fell in love and eventually married; Kurt died in 2002. From 1998?—?2002 they ran the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation, to promote education, teach tolerance and reduce prejudice. In 2008 Gerda founded Citizenship Counts, which aims to educate middle and high school students about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the importance of “giving back” through community service.

Between 1978 and 1996 Gerda was a featured columnist for the Buffalo News and in 1985 wrote The Windsor Caper as a children’s serial in 60 parts. When her English cousin, Martin Good, read the story (the only remaining version) he loved it and decided it should be published as a tribute to Gerda’s achievement and a source of delight for, in her own words, ‘children of all ages’.

This delightful and magical story brings alive the fascinating pageantry of English history. Gerda is one of five women to receive the prestigious international Lion of Judah award in Jerusalem and was awarded the President’s Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Gerda’s books and films

Books

  • All But My Life, Hill & Wang, 1957, expanded edition 1995
  • The Blue Rose, L. Hill, 1974
  • Promise of a New Spring: The Holocaust and Renewal, Rossel Books, 1981
  • A Passion for Sharing: The Life of Edith Rosenwald Stern, Rossel Books, 1984.
  • Peregrinations: Adventures with the Green Parrot, Josephine Goodyear Committee, 1986
  • The Hours After: Letters of Love and Longing in the War’s Aftermath. Written with Kurt Klein. St Martin’s Press, 2000.
  • A Boring Evening at Home, Leading Authorities Press, 2004
  • Wings of EPOH, Fable Vision Press, 2007
  • One Raspberry, Gerda Weissmann Klein, 2009
  • The Windsor Caper, Martin Good, 2013

Films and clips

One Survivor Remembers (clip: 37 seconds)

This Academy Award-winning film tells the story of Gerda Weissmann Klein and her six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. Rendered in a simple yet extraordinarily powerful manner, the film explores the effects that her experience had on the rest of her life. This is a journey of survival through one of the most devastating events in the history of mankind.

Gerda and Kurt describe her liberation (3 mins 44 seconds) (an excerpt from “One Survivor Remembers”):

Gerda’s Oscar speech (3 minutes 07 seconds)

The Windsor Caper: reviews

‘If you have read any of Gerda Weissmann Klein’s other books, this one will surprise you. Not because of the quality of the writing?—?as always, that’s wonderful. It’s a story that will take you aback a bit: a charming but compelling adventure story about two little American girls getting lost in Windsor Castle, England. They meet historical figures that come to life in a dream sequence in the Queen’s bedchamber, jumping out of paintings and showing the girls around. There are strange, terrifying heraldic beasts that come to life and a marvelous character called Bill Spearshaker, a distant cousin of, well, you know who. And as if that’s not enough, they solve an attempted art heist and do battle with a couple of very sinister crooks. Warning ­– don’t read it on the bus, or you’ll miss your stop.’ Joyce Cade (2013)

‘A great Christmas gift for young readers and adults who love children’s books. It’s refreshingly traditional, such relief in this Facebook age. Now we have to visit Windsor Castle again to see Queen Mary’s doll’s house anew and to see those characters jumping out of their paintings. It’s a delightful retro story. We loved it.’ Josh Pengelly, 2013

‘Gerda Weissmann Klein is well known in the US as a powerful human rights campaigner, and her fascinating personal story of suffering under the German Nazis will be familiar to many people. Klein is now in her late eighties and still writing, but this new book The Windsor Caper was written by her in the 1980s for serial publication in a newspaper. The delightful traditional-style children’s story has recently been rediscovered and republished as a short children’s novel with charming line illustrations. It is light-hearted with self-consciously old-fashioned language that gently mocks the English idiom, and is both a fairy tale and an educational treasure trove that seeks to teach young readers about the little known details of English heraldry. Klein has a lifelong love of English history, which she gave free rein to in this tale of two little American girls who visit London’s Windsor Castle. Lots of fun!’ Catherine Burch, Editorial Manager, Cambridge Publishing Management (2014)


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