Excerpt from the book:

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New York Times best-selling author Isabel Allende is best known for classic fiction works such as “House of the Spirits,” “Eval Luna,” and “Long Petals of the Sea.” The Chilean-born author’s latest novel, “The wind knows my name” (Ballantine Books) draws parallels between Jewish children sent to safety by their families during World War II and Latin American children separated from their parents to emigrate to the United States. drawing a point.

Read the excerpt below and don’t miss the interview with Rita Braver and Isabel Allende. “CBS News Sunday Morning” May 28th!

Isabel Allende “The Wind Knows My Name”

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Vienna, November 1938

I had a bad feeling about it. From the early hours of the morning, a terrible wind blew through the streets, whistling between buildings and entering through gaps under doors and windows.

“Winter has just set in,” Rudolf Adler muttered to himself, trying to soften the mood. But he couldn’t blame the weather for the tightness in his chest he’d been feeling for months.

A terrifying stench of rust and rotting trash clung to his nostrils. Neither his pipe tobacco nor the citrus-scented aftershave could hide it. That afternoon, the stench of terror swept up by the wind suffocated him, making him dizzy and nauseous. He turned away the patients left in the waiting room and decided to close early. Surprised, his assistant asked if he was sick. She had worked with the doctor for her 11 years, and she never knew he had neglected his duties. He was punctual and methodical.

“Nothing serious. Just a cold, Mrs. Goldberg. Go home and rest,” he replied.

They tidied up their offices, sanitized their equipment, and said goodbye at the front door night after night, but neither of them thought they would see each other again. Mrs. Goldberg made her way to the tram stop, and Rudolf Adler hunched his shoulders, hat in one hand and doctor’s bag in the other, walked at his usual brisk pace a few blocks to the pharmacy. The sidewalks were damp and the sky cloudy. It was drizzling, and he predicted that the autumn rainstorm that had always unknowingly hit him without an umbrella would soon come. He had walked those streets thousands of times and knew by memory that they were among the most beautiful in the world, with Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings coexisting in harmony, with majestic trees beginning to shed their leaves. Never stopped admiring his city, one of the places. , equestrian statues in nearby squares, bakery windows lined with delicate pastries, and curiosities packed with curiosities. But that afternoon he could barely lift his eyes from the pavement. He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Troublesome rumors began that morning with news of an assault in Paris. A German diplomat was shot dead by a Polish-Jewish youth five times. The Third Reich spokesperson called for revenge.

Ever since Germany annexed Austria and the Nazi Wehrmacht paraded its military majesty and status through the center of Vienna to cheering and jubilant crowds, Rudolf Adler had been plagued with terror. His fears, which had begun years ago, were exacerbated as Nazi power was strengthened by increased funding and an increasing arms stockpile. Hitler used terrorism as a political tactic, exploiting frustration with his humiliating defeat in World War I and his post-Great Depression economic woes in 1929. In 1934, Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dorfs was assassinated in a failed government coup, and 800 people have been killed since. Others were killed in various attacks. The Nazis threatened their detractors, caused mayhem, and pushed Austria to the brink of civil war. In early 1938, domestic violence became so unbearable that Germany exerted pressure from the other side of the border to annex the troubled country as a state. Hitler ordered the invasion despite the Austrian government’s concessions to German demands. The Nazi party laid the groundwork for the majority of the population to face the invading army with open arms. The Austrian government surrendered, and two days later Hitler himself returned in triumph and entered Vienna. The Nazis soon seized complete control. The protest was declared illegal. German laws, SS and Gestapo crackdowns, and anti-Semitic policies were immediately put into effect.

Rudolf’s wife, Rachel, who had always been rational and pragmatic, never in the least prone to destructive thoughts, was now almost paralyzed by anxiety and could function only with the help of medication. Both tried to silence what was happening to protect their son Samuel’s innocence, but their soon-to-be-six-year-old had the maturity of an adult. He observed, listened and understood without questioning. Rudolf had initially prescribed his wife the tranquilizers he used to treat his anxious patients, but they didn’t seem to work, so he used another, more powerful intravenous drip, which was opaque. I got one in an unmarked bottle. He could have used sedatives as well as his wife, but he was unwilling to risk jeopardizing his professional acumen.

Intravenous drugs were secretly provided to him by pharmacist and longtime friend Peter Steiner. Adler was the only doctor Steiner trusted with regards to his family’s health, and the decree banning intercourse between Aryans and Jews could not change the respect they had for each other. In recent months, however, Mr. Steiner has been forced to avoid Mr. Adler in public because he could not get into trouble with the neighboring Nazi committee. In the past, they played thousands of games of poker and chess, exchanged books and newspapers, and regularly met in order to jokingly escape his wife, and in Steiner’s case, hordes of children. They went on hiking and fishing trips together. . Adler no longer attends his games of poker in the back room of the Steiner pharmacy. The pharmacist met with Adler at the back door of the store and provided Rachel with drugs without putting them on his books.

Until the annexation, Peter Steiner never questioned Adler’s roots and considered the doctor to be Austrian like him. He knew that his family, like 190,000 other Austrians, were Jewish, but it meant nothing to him. he was an agnostic. To him, the Christianity in which he was raised seemed as irrational as all other religions. I knew that Rudolf Adler felt the same way, but he adhered to some Jewish customs out of respect for his wife. Rachel felt it was important for his son to be raised in a Jewish community and tradition. On Friday nights, the Steiners were often invited to the Sabbath at Adler’s home. Sisters-in-law Rachel and Leah generously provided every detail: the best table linens, new candles, fish recipes inherited from her grandmother, fresh bread, and an extensive wine list. Rachel was close to Leah, who was widowed at a young age and had no children. Leah was devoted to her older brother Rudolf’s small family. Rachel pleaded with Rudolph to live with her, but she insisted on living alone and visiting her house frequently. Leah was gregarious and participated in various synagogue programs to help the poorest people in her community. Rudolf was her only brother left to her, as he emigrated to a kibbutz in Palestine, and Samuel was her only nephew. Rudolf presided over the Sabbath prayers, as was expected of a householder. He put his hands on Samuel’s head and asked God to bless and protect him and to give him grace and peace. On numerous occasions, Rachel witnessed her husband and Peter Steiner wink after her prayers, not meant as a mockery, but simply as a collusion between the two unbelievers. she knew, and she missed it.

The Adlers belonged to the secular, educated middle class that characterized Viennese society in general and Jewish society in particular. Rudolph explained to Peter that for centuries his people had been discriminated against, persecuted, and driven from many lands, which is why they valued education over material wealth. . As has happened repeatedly throughout history, they can be robbed of their belongings, but no one can rob them of their intellectual property. The title of doctor was valued above bank wealth. Rudolf was born into a family of craftsmen and was proud to have a doctor among them. This occupation gave him prestige and authority, but in his case it certainly did not lead to material wealth. Rudolf Adler was neither a popular surgeon nor a renowned professor at the University of Vienna, but he was a diligent and generous family physician, treating more than half of his patients for free.

Excerpt from “The Wind Knows My Name” by Isabel Allende. Copyright © 2023 by Isabel Allende. all rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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