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Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival

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Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad is a deeply moving, personal and at times horrifying memoir about Finkelstein’s parents’ experiences at the hands of the two genocidal dictators of the twentieth century. It is a story of persecution; survival; and the consequences of totalitarianism told with the almost unimaginable bravery of two ordinary families shining through. Finkelstein is Jewish; [1] his mother, Mirjam Finkelstein, was a Holocaust survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, [5] while his father Ludwik Finkelstein OBE was born in Lwów (then in Poland but now in Ukraine), and became Professor of Measurement and Instrumentation at City University London. [6] [7] He is a grandson, via his mother, of Dr Alfred Wiener, the Jewish activist and founder of the Wiener Library. [5] He is the brother of Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein CBE FREng, President of City, University of London and of Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. [8]

Daniel William Finkelstein, Baron Finkelstein, OBE (born 30 August 1962) is a British journalist and politician. [1] He is a former executive editor of The Times and remains a weekly political columnist. [2] He is a former chairman of Policy Exchange who was succeeded by David Frum in 2014. [3] He is chair of the think tank Onward. He was made a member of the House of Lords in August 2013, [4] sitting as a Conservative. So, the idea which has gained currency, that Cameron sat down and studied the New Labour manual to modernise his party, is all very well but, in fact, the Conservative Party repeatedly adapts to gain power?The difference is between attempting to assert democratic rights and limit the power of government within an evolving system versus attempting to achieve the overthrow of all institutions and the entire class structure using blood. Burke predicted not only what happened in the French Revolution but what has happened over and over again in different revolutions of the similar kind. You could just as easily have his ‘Reflections on the Cultural Revolution in China’, for example. On the current refugee crisis, for example, this son of refugees says “It is not harsh to say that there is a problem,” and that it is not somehow anti-Jewish to say that there has to be some sort of policy to stop people taking to sea in unsuitable boats.

Before I begin this review I must declare an interest: Daniel Finkelstein is a close friend. But if you think that disqualifies me from hailing this book a masterpiece then I urge you to read it and discover it for yourself.His mother was politically moderate too. “She was always pretty wary politically of anybody — how shall I put this — over-excitable,” he writes. In his maiden speech in the House of Lords (watched by his mother) he said that compared to Belsen and Siberia: “Pinner is nicer.” The book is Everything in Moderation, and the writer is Daniel Finkelstein, known to his many friends as Danny Fink ( Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis on the cover says “This is Danny Fink at his very Danny Fink finest, elucidating, wise and intensely curious”). His formal title is Baron Finkelstein of Pinner in the London Borough of Harrow, since being made a Tory working peer in 2013.

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