Home So Far Away
July 26, 2022
After author Judith Berlowitz found both Gestapo and Soviet records about a relative named Klara Philpsborn, she began thinking about writing Home So Far Away (She Writes Press 2022). Set in diary form, the novel opens in 1925 with a visit from Berlin to an uncle living in Sevilla, Spain. "Onkle" Julius has not told his wife and children that he is Jewish, so his visiting family can only celebrate a quiet, hidden Passover, but Klara is intrigued by the language, food, and culture of Spain. A few years later, she takes a job as a chemist in Madrid. 1n 1936, when the Spanish Civil War breaks out, Klara, now Clara, enlists and ends up putting both relationships and her life at risk. Although she must hide her Jewish and communist identity in Spain, Clara is passionate about fighting for human rights and equality. The tale ends in 1938, just as the Nazi movement is picking up steam in Clara’s homeland.
Los Angeles-born genealogist Judith Berlowitz fluttered through various career phases before settling on historical fiction as her life’s work. Tools acquired during all these phases are visible in her debut novel, Home So Far Away (She Writes Press, 2022). Her years as a musician (classical guitar, oboe, singer, arranger), language teacher (Spanish), cultural studies teacher, tour guide, peace activist, and genealogist converge in a fictional diary about a relative from Germany in the Spanish Civil War. Judith lives in San Francisco with her husband and sings in the San Francisco Bach Choir while serving as a volunteer curator with the genealogical website, Geni.com.