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Paul and Paula : A Story of Separation, Survival and Belonging - Tim McNamara

Paul and Paula

A Story of Separation, Survival and Belonging

By: Tim McNamara

Paperback | 1 December 2023

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‘In fifty years…nobody will then know anything about our troubles.’

1939: Paul Kurz engineer, refugee from Vienna and Dunera Boy is separated from his wife, Paula, and his mother at the outbreak of World War II and interned in Australia.

Late 1960s: an Australian student from an Irish Catholic family railing against his alcoholic father, struggling with his religious upbringing and coming to terms with his sexuality strikes up a profound friendship with Paul, two generations older.

Decades after Paul’s death, he pieces together Paul’s incredible story from surviving family letters, and travels to Vienna to discover Paul’s history and that of the city its beauty, its violence, its cruelty, what Paul loved and how he suffered there. The letters reveal Paul’s heartbreaking separation from Paula, his life in exile in England and Australia, his desperate attempts to reconnect with his wife and the eventual fateful outcome.

This lyrical, poignant account combines memoir, biography and history to explore the enduring influence of one elderly Holocaust survivor and the intergenerational impact of the famed Dunera.

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