Unanswered Letter
Faris Cassell

Book cover image

Narrated By: Kate Mulligan

Duration: 15 hours and 32 minutes

What to expect

Dear Madam—You are surely informed about the situation of all Jews in Central Europe and this letter will not astonish you.

In August 1939, just days before World War II broke out in Europe, a Jewish man in Vienna named Alfred Berger mailed a desperate letter to a stranger in America who shared his last name.

By pure chance I got your address … I beg you instantly to send for me and my wife …

Decades later, journalist Faris Cassell stumbled upon the stunning letter and became determined to uncover the story behind it. How did the American Bergers respond? Did Alfred and his family escape Nazi Germany? Over a decade-long investigation, Cassell traveled thousands of miles; explored archives and offices in Austria, Belarus, Israel, and the Czech Republic; interviewed descendants; and found letters, photos, and sketches made by family members during the Holocaust.

This is Cassell’s account of the devastating true story of The Unanswered Letter.


The Holocaust, Second World War

Listen to a sample

“A wonderful book about a terrible subject.”

Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

“A moving account of the search for two Holocaust victims…Though often grim, the story is a historical treasure.”

Kirkus Reviews

“This is twenty-first century Holocaust literature at its haunting best.”

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

“A masterful piece of research and writing.”

Steven Ungerleider, psychologist, writer, and co-producer of the HBO documentary At the Heart of Gold

“A poignant and unforgettable journey of determination and discovery.”

Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author

“Faris Cassell’s The Unanswered Letter weaves history and memory together in her beautifully written and well-researched book.”

Barbara Corrado Pope, author of The Blood of Lorraine

“Details a remarkable journey that transformed everyone who took part in it.”

Judith R. Baskin, Philip H. Knight Professor of Humanities Emerita, University of Oregon

“A dramatic, heartbreaking, and poignant book, a study in the power of remembrance.”

Rebecca Erbelding, historian and author of Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Effort to Save the Jews of Europe

“A work of power and passion, depth, and determination.”