Schimmel, Betty 1929(?)-
SCHIMMEL, Betty 1929(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1929, in Czechoslovakia; immigrated to United States, 1949; daughter of Jacob and Ethel Markowitz; married Otto Schimmel, 1948; children: three.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Putnam, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
(With Joyce Gabriel) To See You Again: A True Story of Love in a Time of War, Dutton (New York, NY), 1999.
ADAPTATIONS: To See You Again was produced as an audiobook.
SIDELIGHTS: Holocaust survivor Betty Schimmel, with the help of Joyce Gabriel, wrote a memoir of her experiences, To See You Again. In it Schimmel describes her childhood years in rural Czechoslovakia, where she enjoyed a large extended family. After Adolf Hitler annexed the Sudentenland, Schimmel's family escaped to Hungary, settling in Budapest where twelve-year-old Betty fell in love with rich and handsome Richie Kovacs. After Betty's father, who was working for the underground in North Africa, disappeared, her mother held the family together. Schimmel recounts in To See You Again how, despite the best efforts of courageous individuals, the Jews of Budapest were sent on a wintertime death march to the Mauthausen concentration camp on the Austrian border. Through sheer force of will, Betty, her mother, and two siblings survived the march and a year at the camp. After they were liberated, Schimmel searched for Kovacs, but eventually she gave him up for dead. Later she married Otto Schimmel, also a Holocaust survivor, and the family immigrated to the United States, where they raised three children.
In 1975 Schimmel's world was turned upside down when she and her daughter met Kovacs in a hotel dining room while visiting Budapest. Though it was a dream come true to see her long-lost love again, Schimmel remained with her husband. Upon its publication in 1999, To See You Again attracted the attention of reviewers. A Kirkus Reviews critic praised Schimmel for "effectively" using "evocative description throughout," while in Library Journal Kim Baxter judged the work to be a "gripping memoir." "To See You Again is at its best a wonderful evocation of life in Central Europe before the Second World War," Caroline Moorehead commented in the Times Literary Supplement.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Entertainment Weekly, December 10, 1999, Gay Daly, review of To See You Again, p. 104.
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, October 29, 1999, "Finding Lost Romance Closes Chapter in Woman's Life."
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1999, review of To See You Again, p. 1292.
Library Journal, October 1, 1999, Kim Baxter, review of To See You Again, p. 104.
Publishers Weekly, August 16, 1999, review of To See You Again, p. 68.
Times Literary Supplement, December 24, 1999, Caroline Moorehead, "Among the Ruins," p. 25.*