From Krakow to Berkeley: Coming out of Hiding with Anna Rabkin

An extraordinary biography that spans global events from the Holocaust to the Cold War, the Free Speech Movement to the women’s movement, international incidents to hyper-local political battles. What happens to a child whose early life is marked by trauma and loss? Can a refugee whose earliest memories are of hiding in fear learn to step into the public eye? Can a reviled other find the courage to speak out? Anna Rabkin’s comfortable childhood in Krakow ended abruptly when her Jewish family fled both Communists and Nazis during World War Two. Smuggled out of the Lvov ghetto, only she and her brother survived. In 1946 a kindertransport took Anna to England and the bewildering world of British boarding schools. With help from relatives, she moved to New York where she met her husband. After honeymooning in Castro’s Cuba, they found a new life, in the college town of Berkeley, California. The turbulent 1960s draw Anna away from her role as a stay-at-home mother and into the fray of Berkeley city politics. Elected to office in 1979, she joins one of the most progressive – and contentious – governments in the country. Tackling the issues of the day – and the endless behind- the-scenes intrigues – leads to satisfying triumphs and exhausting defeats. She completes her journey out of hiding, becoming a civic leader with deep roots in her community. Inescapably, loss returns to mark her life again. This is a personal story shaped by historical events: from the Holocaust to the Cold War, the Free Speech Movement to the women’s movement, international incidents to hyper-local political battles. With honesty and humour Anna addresses the challenges she faced: the scourge of anti-Semitism, the marital tensions a wife’s career can create, the vindictiveness of electoral politics. Ultimately, however, this is a story of healing and resilience, of how love and acceptance gave her the confidence to become an engaged citizen.

Anna Rabkin holds master’s degrees in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and in History from California State University, East Bay. She was elected City Auditor of Berkeley, California in 1979, and is the co-author of Public Libraries: Travel Treasures of the American West.

Event date: 
Friday, April 6, 2018 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
2430 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
From Krakow to Berkeley: Coming out of Hiding: An immigrant's search for identity and belonging By Anna Rabkin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781910383704
Published: Vallentine Mitchell - February 21st, 2018

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