27 2023

Beckerman Cultural Arts Author Program: Faris Cassell


Faris Cassell
"The Unanswered Letter"


Thursday, April 27 | 7:30 PM
In-Person & Via Zoom

In 2000, Faris Cassell’s hus­band came home with a fifty-year-old let­ter that had been hand­ed to him by a patient. It was a plea for help from a Jew­ish cou­ple named Berg­er try­ing to escape Vien­na in 1939 as the Nazis were approaching. They sent the let­ter in des­per­a­tion to an unknown, unrelated fam­i­ly in Amer­i­ca also named Berg­er. The plea went unan­swered but the let­ter was saved, lying for­got­ten in a Cal­i­for­nia attic.

After years of research Cassell locat­ed many liv­ing fam­i­ly mem­bers in the U.S. and around the world, and worked with them to con­struct a time­line with their saved let­ters. The letters detail the ways in which var­i­ous parts of the fam­i­ly tried to leave their respec­tive coun­tries for safe­ty else­where, and the ever-tight­en­ing restric­tions on immi­gra­tion they faced.

Cassel’s vivid sto­ry­telling trans­ports the read­er through emo­tion­al highs and lows as the Berg­er fam­i­ly con­fronts dire sit­u­a­tions at every turn.