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Books Taken by Nazis Speak Volumes

When Inge Isler fled Germany at the age of 13, right before World War II broke out in 1939, she didn't expect to see again any of the things her family left behind. But to her astonishment, five books the Nazis confiscated from her father were found at a German university and sent to Temple Sholom in Greenwich.

"My father had a very extensive library," said the 84-year-old Isler. "My parents packed their books in boxes to be shipped to the United States, but after the war broke out we didn't receive any of it. How these books survived, I don't know."

Members of Temple Sholom and the community gathered Wednesday to formally receive the books, which included a philosophy book, Hebrew songbook and English-German dictionary. "The books weren't even that important," she said. "It's the idea that they were saved and came over." The books remained in remarkable shape from spine to cover.

Rabbi Mitchell Hurvitz explained how the University of Hamburg in Germany contacted the temple in May looking for Isler. The Rev. James Lemler of Christ Church in Greenwich said, "It's very powerful that something generated out of such evil could result in restoration."

Rabbi Hurvitz blessed the books and presented them to Isler. As she took them into her hands, she began to choke up and said, "I wonder how my father would feel."

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