Goodbye Berlin: The Biography of Gerald Wiener
Paperback | Jan 2018 | Birlinn | 9781780275413 | 272pp | 234x156mm | RFB | AUD$29.99, NZD$34.99
Hardback | Sep 2016 | Birlinn | 256pp | 234x156mm | RFB
The 24th of March, 1939, was a poignant day for twelve-year-old Gerald Wiener. He was on a train pulling out of Berlin and he was on his way to the UK to escape persecution in Nazi Germany. He was one of the thousands of unaccompanied children saved by the Kindertransport. Looked after by two sisters in Oxford, his abilities as a scholar became apparent and from an early age he was set on the road to academic achievement. There followed a distinguished career as a research scientist in Edinburgh, where he made a genetic discovery that received international recognition. His research department was a centre of excellence and members of his team went on to make an astonishing breakthrough in genetics, the cloning of Dolly the sheep.
During his career Gerald was also in demand to assist agricultural development in China, India, the secretive North Korea, and many other countries, and his trips during these years are full of incident and fascinating human and social insights. It was while he was on a postdoctoral fellowship in the USA that he discovered he had a large family in California. He had known nothing of them as his mother and father had parted when he was only two years old. His aunt and stepmother gave him compelling accounts of their escapes from Hitler, via Shanghai, and life under the Japanese during the War. Their stories, and that of Gerald himself, are amazing tales of resilience and triumph over adversity. This book shows how one man's life and achievements mirror the great events of the second half of the twentieth century and the opening years of the new millennium.