Alice’s Book: How the Nazis Stole My Grandmother’s Cookbook by Karina Urbach


What happened to the books that were too valuable to burn? The story of a Jewish chef whose bestselling cookbook was expropriated under the Nazi regime. Alice Urbach had her own cooking school in Vienna, but in 1938 she was forced to flee to England, like so many others. Her younger son was imprisoned in Dachau, and her older son, having emigrated to the United States, became an intelligence officer in the struggle against the Nazis.

Returning to the ruins of Vienna in the late 1940s, she discovers that her bestselling cookbook has been published under someone else’s name. Now, eighty years later, the historian Karina Urbach – Alice’s granddaughter – sets out to uncover the truth behind the stolen cookbook and tells the story of a family torn apart by the Nazi regime, of a woman who, with her unwavering passion for cooking, survived the horror and losses of the Holocaust to begin a new life in America.

Impeccably researched and incredibly moving, Alice’s Book sheds light on an untold chapter in the history of Nazi crimes against Jewish authors. “Urbach not only reconstructs individual fates from family correspondence and tape interviews from her grandmother’s estate, she also draws on a myriad of archives. […] The fact that she manages this without sentimentality is an achievement in itself. The facts are moving enough” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung “A remarkable book” Spiegel Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch