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From Holocaust to Harvard

A Story of Escape, Forgiveness, and Freedom

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A true and touching human tale of survival and achievement.

When John Stoessinger was ten years old, Adolf Hitler annexed his homeland of Austria, ripping the boy from his home and his friends in Vienna. His grandparents encouraged his mother and stepfather to take young John somewhere safe. “You must have a future,” his grandfather told him before he and his parents boarded the train and waved goodbye.

As they trekked across the country, from Vienna to Prague and then finally settling in Shanghai, there was never a single moment Stoessinger was not afraid—he lived in constant fear that he and his family would be found and killed. However, even in Hitler-ruled Nazi Germany, there were plenty of people who refused to cower to absolute evil and who did everything they could to usher families like Stoessinger’s to freedom.

In From Holocaust to Harvard, Stoessinger recalls heartbreaking moments from his childhood and of living a life of secrets in Shanghai. He then presents the second part of his story—the part where he attempts to untangle himself from his previous life and devastating memories and is able to relocate to America, earn a graduate-level degree from a prestigious university, and later become a member of the Council on Foreign Relations despite making a decision that nearly lands him in prison and threatens his hard-earned freedom.

Throughout his story, Stoessinger expresses his gratitude to those who helped him through the toughest parts of this life and put him on a path that led him to a Harvard education, a successful career, and inner peace.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

"John Stoessinger’s deeply personal account of his journey from Nazi-occupied Austria to the heights of the American intellectual establishment is thought provoking and heart wrenching." —Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

"Stoessinger pens a fascinating memoir of his successful but messy life—one forged in childhood by the terror he endured during the Holocaust and by his escape to freedom with the help of strangers who risked their own lives. In brutally candid detail, Stoessinger propels readers on his emotional journey to academic triumph. But, as he proves in this compelling book, you cannot flee from the past." —Allan Zullo, author of Heroes of the Holocaust

“By the second page of John Stoessinger’s riveting memoir, I surrendered my cynical, critical attitude and my sated appetite for yet another Holocaust story. His brutal honesty and vulnerability leaves me pondering the big questions: God, Love, Evil, Justice, Forgiveness.” —Hanna Zack Miley, author of A Garland for Ashes: World War II, the Holocaust, and One Jewish Survivor’s Long Journey to Forgiveness

"In this candid, reflective, and often self-critical memoir, the eminent social scientist John Stoessinger charts a remarkable personal success story. He tells of a bourgeois childhood in pre-war Vienna interrupted by the arrival of the Nazis in 1938, of his flight, first to relatives in Prague and then like so many other desperate refugees, traveling with his parents across the USSR to distant Shanghai. From there, he finds his way to the United States where he comes to influence the political course of his adopted country. Written with the style and panache of his many academic works, Professor Stoessinger has a life story worth recalling." —Professor Bob Moore, Department of History, University of Sheffield

"Read this book! From Holocaust to Harvard is a heart-wrenching memoir that takes you on a riveting journey to freedom. John Stoessinger shares how his pain and suffering has shaped his life and, ultimately, the belief that we can live in peace as world citizens. Thank you, John, for this precious gift! Your book brought tears to my eyes." —Yvonne Carson-Cardozo, author of Silence and Secrets: A Jewish Woman's Tale of Escape, Survival, and Love in World War II

"John Stoessinger’s deeply personal account of his journey from Nazi-occupied Austria to the heights of the American intellectual establishment is thought provoking and heart wrenching." —Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

"Stoessinger pens a fascinating memoir of his successful but messy life—one forged in childhood by the terror he endured during the Holocaust and by his escape to freedom with the help of strangers who risked their own lives. In brutally candid detail, Stoessinger propels readers on his emotional journey to academic triumph. But, as he proves in this compelling book, you cannot flee from the past." —Allan Zullo, author of Heroes of the Holocaust

“By the second page of John Stoessinger’s riveting memoir, I surrendered my cynical, critical attitude and my sated appetite for yet another Holocaust story. His brutal honesty and vulnerability leaves me pondering the big questions: God, Love, Evil, Justice, Forgiveness.” —Hanna Zack Miley, author of A Garland for Ashes: World War II, the Holocaust, and One Jewish Survivor’s Long Journey to Forgiveness

"In this candid, reflective, and often self-critical memoir, the eminent social scientist John Stoessinger charts a remarkable personal success story. He tells of a bourgeois childhood in pre-war Vienna interrupted by the arrival of the Nazis in 1938, of his flight, first to relatives in Prague and then like so many other desperate refugees, traveling with his parents across the USSR to distant Shanghai. From there, he finds his way to the United States where he comes to influence the political course of his adopted country. Written with the style and panache of his many academic works, Professor Stoessinger has a life story worth recalling." —Professor Bob Moore, Department of History, University of Sheffield

"Read this book! From Holocaust to Harvard is a heart-wrenching memoir that takes you on a riveting journey to freedom. John Stoessinger shares how his pain and suffering has shaped his life and, ultimately, the belief that we can live in peace as world citizens. Thank you, John, for this precious gift! Your book brought tears to my eyes." —Yvonne Carson-Cardozo, author of Silence and Secrets: A Jewish Woman's Tale of Escape, Survival, and Love in World War II