The Book Group has selected a fascinating memoir by Edmund de Waal to read for the February 23, 2014 meeting. This 2010 family memoir by British ceramicist Edmund de Waal tells the story of his family, the Ephrussi, once a very wealthy European Jewish banking dynasty, centered in Odessa, Vienna and Paris, and peers of the Rothschild family. The Ephrussis lost almost everything in 1938 when the Nazis “Aryanized” their property. Even after the war, the family failed to recover most of its extensive property, including priceless artwork, but an easily hidden collection of 264 Japanese netsuke miniature sculptures was miraculously saved, tucked away inside a mattress by Anna, a loyal maid at Palais Ephrussi in Vienna during the war years. The collection has been passed down through five generations of the Ephrussi family, providing a common thread for the story of its fortunes from 1871 to 2009.
The February 23 Book Group meeting has been canceled.