Silvia Tennenbaum: Yesterday's Streets

SPIEGEL Bestseller List

Silvia Tennenbaum
Yesterday's Streets


656pp (202,400 words)

>> Originally published in English in the US
>> No. 9 on the Dutch Bestseller List

Lene Wertheim is born in 1903, in Frankfurt. The Wertheims are an old-established Jewish family with firm principles: Christmas is celebrated as a splendid family festival – to the dismay of the orthodox relatives. In 1938, in Paris, Lene obtains visas for the United States for herself, her husband and her daughter. But many of the Wertheims are unable to escape the Nazis in time.

In vivid images Silvia Tennenbaum brings to life the rise of a Jewish family in the German Empire, follows their entwined paths through the Weimar Republic and powerfully describes flight and death in the »Third Reich«, expulsion and rescue. A great epic novel of our times.

Rights sold

France - Gallimard
Israel - Yedioth Ahronoth
The Netherlands - Nieuw Amsterdam; (audiobook)

paperback - Random House / btb
audio book - Audiobuch

» Contact:


»The Jewish Buddenbrooks.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»A novel about Frankfurt, a book of longing, an evidence of deprivation of rights and murder of German Jews during National Socialism.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»STRASSEN VON GESTERN narrates the destiny of the lost world of an upper class Jewish family in a touching way.«
Frankfurter Neue Presse

»An excellently written novel. And when unjustness, death and murder is overrunning Frankfurt it just feels to us now the way it must have to the Wertheims then.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

»The highly autobiographical novel by Silvia Tennenbaum impresses with the authentic description of the characters and local color of Frankfurt. With loving attention to detail the author succeeds in creating impressive scenes. (...) The longer you read this novel, the more you identify with the characters and the less you want the novel to end.«

»The ›crown of a love story‹ – a love story between Silvia Tennenbaum and the city of Frankfurt.«
Frankfurter Rundschau

»Silvia Tennenbaum has written the Frankfurt twin of the Buddenbrooks – a story about the rise and fall of a family, persecution and assassination, escape, displacement and a new beginning in American exile. STRASSEN VON GESTERN is a book that lasts.«

»With powerful pictures Silvia Tennenbaum talks in her novel STRASSEN VON GESTERN about the rise of a Jewish family in the German empire, accompanies their intricated ways through the Weimar Republic and lets us witness vividly escape and death in the Third Reich as well as displacement and rescue. A great epic novel of our times.«

»The gone-with-the-wind-feeling of former times.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»An impressive novel.«

»This new edition is like an old friend you meet again. (…) DIE STRASSEN VON GESTERN makes you becoming fond of the almost extinct Frankfurt from the past.«
Mayor of Frankfurt/Main Petra Roth

»Masterly Silvia Tennenbaum describes what immeasurable treasure the Germans have deprived from themselves by National Socialist dictatorship«
State Secretary at presentation of the Goethe Medal

»Praised are the times of the educated middle class society, when not ancestry but actual being and the active participation in social life were crucial – all later destroyed by the National Socialists.«

»A family epic and a social novel reminiscent of the Buddenbrooks with both psychological intelligence and great enthusiasm. The novel is at the height of contemporary history and full of Frankfurt’s local colour, offering us the possibility to discover a truly great novel.«
Deutsche Welle (broadcasting station)

» A book, that draws you into its world and hardly lets you go - a book to spend the nights with. Silvia Tennenbaum’s novel leaves a feeling of unfulfillable yearning.«
Jüdische Zeitung

»A great and important novel, highly autobiographically influenced. A fantastic and recommendable book.«
buzz aldrins wordpress

»These are expressive linguistic pictures, paintings almost, drawing our attention and making us cry over the cruel fates of these characters. (…) One of the most important books about National Socialism.«
Heinrich Krobbach online

Reviews from abroad:

»A sleek, full-bodied saga overall, intensified throughout by the Frankfurt-born author's unmistakable personal involvement.«
Kirkus Reviews

»Dés les premières pages, on est ébloui par le tableau merveilleusement raffiné – presque proustien dans l’art du detail (…). Un roman impressionnant (…).«
Le Temps

»En multipliant les regards et les sensibilités des ces fabuleux personnages qui peuplent sa saga familiale, Silvia Tennenbaum dépeint avec justesse la complexité de l’histoire de la bourgeoisie juive allemande. Son rapport particulier a la religion, au patriotisme, mais également son rôle dans les grandes idéologies de l’époque: le nationalisme, le communisme et le sionisme. Ce roman compose une émouvante fresque de la première moitié du XXe siècle.«
Ouest France

»Foisonnante (…), cette fresque brosse un très beau portrait de la bourgeoisie juive allemande, confrontée à un mal dévorant. Pour autant, la romancière n’oublie pas de singulariser ses nombreux personnages et de composer son récit en grand feuilleton dont les derniers mots sonnent comme un avertissement lucide: ›J’entends du tonnerre (…). Rentrons à la maison, nous serons à l’abri.‹«

»Ce roman est riche, il foisonne d’episodes familiaux et sociétaux qui s’entremêlent étroitement.«
La Cause Littéraire

»Silvia Tennenbaum nous emporte, avec un mélange de passion et de désespoir, dans cette Europe fracassée.«