Mischka's War: a European Odyssey of the 1940s
About the book
In 1943, Mischka Danos witnessed a terrible sight in the Latvian woods—a pit filled with Jews killed by the Germans. Mischka escaped conscription to the Waffen-SS by going on exchange to Germany and later discovered he was part-Jewish. His was no ordinary life. He escaped death in the firebombing of Dresden. He lived in occupied Germany before reuniting with his mother in Denmark. He was a member of the Heidelberg school of physics. Resettled in the US, he fell in love with and married Sheila Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick pieces together her late husband's story through diaries, correspondence and recollections.
About the author
Sheila Fitzpatrick is Professor of History at the University of Sydney and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago. Mischka's War is the third in her series of memoirs, including My Father's Daughter (2010) and A Spy in the Archives (2013). She has written many books on Soviet history, including On Stalin's Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics, which was joint winner of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-Fiction.
Sheila Fitzpatrick is a prolific historian; however, Mischka's War does not present what you would expected from an Australian academic. Rather this is a complex and intriguing story, presenting a personal journey of discovery through an intimate biography while revealing the complexities of European cultures in the 1940's. Fitzpatrick has approached the story from a lively yet subtle perspective, it is personal and yet not indulgent. This is the skill of the author as she brings her historian's eye and objectivity to a deeply personal story about her late husband's family. She is rigorously careful about the detail. Mischka's War is humane and polished providing an appreciation of the complexities of Eastern Europe at the time.