In the midst of World War II, a German-American family finds themselves stranded in Japan in this inspiring tale of an extraordinary family adapting to the hazards of fate, and finding salvation in each other.
In the spring of 1941, seven-year-old Hildegarde Ercklentz and her family leave their home in New York City and set off for their native Germany, where her father has been recalled to the headquarters of the Commerz & Privat Bank in Berlin. It was meant to be an epic journey, crossing the United States, the Pacific, and Siberia—but when Hitler invades Russia, a week-long stay in Yokohama, Japan becomes six years of quasi-detention, as Hildegarde and her family are stranded in Japan until the war’s end. In this spellbinding memoir, Mahoney recounts her family’s moving saga, from their courage in the face of terrible difficulties—including forced relocation, scarce rations, brutal winters in the Japanese Alps—to their joyous reunion with their German relatives in Hamburg, and their eventual return to New York City in 1950. Richly detailed and remarkably vivid, Journey Interrupted is a story unlike any other—the inspiring tale of an extraordinary family adapting to the hazards of fate, and finding salvation in each other.
“A heroic story of the love and strength of one family stranded in Japan just as Hitler made one of the worst mistakes of World War II, breaking his alliance with Stalin and invading the Soviet Union. As a result Hillie Mahoney and her family were caught in Japan for the war. During the uncertainty, deprivation, and repression, Hillie Mahoney with the strength and love of a family of two exceptional parents and two brothers, demonstrates that family solidarity and love can help you bear the worst life may present to you. Brilliantly written, a book that reads like a novel, it tells a story of ‘family values’ of great relevance to the challenges we face today.”
—Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York City 1994–2001
"Journey Interrupted is a great book. It is a look at a marvelous woman with an incredible life. I've known Hillie Mahoney for many years, but had no idea about this amazing part of her life. You will not want to put it down."
“There are countless stories about World War II. Some are tales of genocide or of heroic resistance and liberation. Yet there are also many tales of individual luck, endurance, and survival. Journey Interrupted is one such story. Hildegarde Mahoney has lived an extraordinary life; her journey has taken her from Manhattan to Imperial Japan to post-war Germany, then back to the United States. Hers is a remarkable tale of adventure, suffering, and triumph, and stands as a testament to the power of hope.”
—Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation
“Journey Interrupted is a rare and riveting story of a family’s endurance of wartime hardship, and of how all survived to harness their sorely tested spirits to climb to life’s heights. Ms. Mahoney, growing up, was one of the few Westerners to spend World War II stranded in Japan with her family. Sharp is the contrast between the perils and deprivations there and her later life, first as a top model in Manhattan, then as a familiar figure in rarefied corporate and international social circles, and, finally, with her late husband David, as an endower of important brain research at the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute and the University of Pennsylvania. This is the well-told tale of experiences that shaped a very unusual and exciting life well-lived.”
—Warren Phillips, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal,retired chairman of Dow Jones & Co., and author of Newspaperman
“With a powerful, forthright style and superb insight into the unexpected effects of war, Hillie Mahoney recovers a personal, but universally inspiring history of family, friends, and unexpected twists in life during the second World War.”
—Louise Mirrer, PhD, president and CEO of the New York Historical Society