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Former Mercy College Dean Publishes Book About Mother’s Escape from the Holocaust

Photo of Andrew Peiser

Dr. Andrew Peiser, former Mercy College dean and current adjunct professor of secondary education, has published a book about his mother’s escape from Nazi Germany during the Holocaust and her life as a refugee in India before immigrating to New York.

“The Road From Breslau: A Story of My Mother's Experiences in Germany, India, and New York,” takes the reader through Marianne Peiser’s life that spanned three continents and some of the most important events of the 20th century. In this story of bravery, perseverance and inspiration, the reader comes away with a sense of how life can suddenly change overnight. The book illustrates how shifts in the political sphere can affect the smallest and most mundane details of a person’s life.

“My mother, Marianne Peiser, was a prolific writer. She left behind a great many documents of her experiences, much of it very dramatic,” said Peiser. “My children have been asking me for years to write her story as a historical and personal narrative.” When the pandemic lockdown occurred in the spring of 2020, the time seemed right.

Peiser began sifting through writings and artifacts his mother left behind after her death in 2003. The process was a revelation. “My father died when I was an infant, so I never really knew him,” he said. From his mother’s writings he learned of the night his father was seized by the Nazis and taken to Buchenwald, a notorious concentration camp. Incredibly, Marianne managed to free her husband, and the pair escaped to India on one of the last passenger ships to leave Europe prior to the outbreak of World War II.

In the months since its June release, the book has been well-received. In addition to several positive reviews appearing on Amazon.com, the book has been selected by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the nation’s official memorial to the Holocaust, for its online book catalog and museum shop. The Leo Baeck Institute, part of the Center for Jewish History in New York City, holds an original manuscript by Marianne and has added the book to their online catalog.

Peiser has authored several textbooks on U.S. and global history as well as numerous articles focusing on educational issues. He looks forward to the opportunity to share his mother’s story with listeners eager to know more about this powerful and important chapter in history.