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The Secret Purposes    by David Baddiel order for
Secret Purposes
by David Baddiel
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Secret Purposes deals with a part of history of which I was unaware - the internment of German Jews in Great Britain on the Isle of Mann. David Baddiel gives us a fascinating version of the times and the people. The basic facts are unchanged, but the individuals involved, their histories and lives, are fictionalized. Winningly so.

Isaac and Lulu Fabian, managing to escape Germany while Jews were still allowed to leave, got as far as Great Britain. Their ultimate goal was America. Because of Isaac's Communist leanings, he was interned while Lulu had to manage for herself and their daughter Rebecca on her own. Cut off from the world on the Isle of Mann, Isaac depended on Lulu for news. As their letters were censored, little of the outside filtered through. Their marriage was troubled from the start, since he was a Jew and she a Catholic.

Isaac meets June Hunter, who works for the Ministry of Information. She is trying to uncover the plight of the Jews. Their meeting has far reaching ramifications for years to come. The Secret Purposes is deeply moving and told with great insight into the minds of both the interned Jews and the population of Great Britain at that time. It also questions the way that truth, or what passes for the truth, is revealed to the populace in times of turbulence. I found it thoughtful and mind provoking.

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