Franci's War Cover

The engrossing memoir of a gifted fashion designer who survived World War ll, with an afterword by Helen Epstein. Published in the US by Penguin.

Franci's War Penguin-UK front cover francina valka Czech front cover FRANCINA VOJNA verzia hviezda (Slovakia cover)

…… …Michael Joseph (UK)…….Mladá Fronta (Czech Rep)…….….Ikar (Slovakia)

NZO AST Russian front cover FrancisWarFrench

…… …. …Rizzoli (Italy)………….……….….AST (Russia)……………Flammarion (France)

DieElektrikerin_JPG Franci's War - Portuguese Cover

…… ……… …. …Dölling und Galitz (Germany)…….Planeta (Portugal)

Helen Epstein speaks about Franci's War for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and the Holocaust Center in Detroit. More: reviews in The Jewish Chronicle and The Times of Israel; Helen's role in its publication; excerpt in The Daily Mail on Sunday with video of Franci.

In the summer of 1942, twenty-two year-old Franci Rabinek arrived at Terez
ín, forty miles north of her home in Prague. It would be the beginning of her three-year journey from Terezín to the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to the slave labor camps in Hamburg, and Bergen Belsen. After liberation by the British in April 1945, she finally returned to Prague.

Franci was known in her group as the Prague dress designer who lied to Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz, saying she was an electrician, an occupation that both endangered and saved her life. In this memoir, she offers her intense and candid account of those years.
Franci’s War is the powerful testimony of one incredibly strong young woman who survived.

Available in paperback on
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and Books-a-Million; as an eBook on Amazon/Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and Apple iBooks.

Teachers and professors can request desk or examination copies

“What are the qualities of a heroine tested and shaped by history, not by myth? She must have unflinching intelligence, wit, will, and honesty in the face of near-unbearable trials. Franci Rabinek Epstein was a worldly, pleasure-loving dress designer when the Nazi’s invaded Prague; she endured and prevailed when they sent her to Terezin, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Her voice is riveting whether she's outwitting Josef Mengele, grappling with her own despair, discussing Dostoevsky with another prisoner, delousing her hair with kerosene or improvising a Cocteau monologue for a show the women inmates stage with canny defiance. She survived the worst of her times; she speaks to the best of ours.” —
Margo Jefferson, Pultizer-prize winning author of Negroland: A Memoir

“By bringing her mother’s vivid and engrossing memoir into the public eye, Helen Epstein has made another important contribution to our knowledge of the Holocaust in Czechoslovakia.
Franci’s War is full of passion, heartache and love — shedding light on humanity’s darkest era and providing added testimony to the incredible human capacity for resilience.” — Madeleine K. Albright, Former Secretary of State

“Rarely does a Holocaust survivor have such penetrating insight as Franci Rabinek Epstein. This is a most remarkable memoir, told without self-pity, but with deep psychological astuteness about herself and the people she encountered. I didn't want it to end.” —
Eva Fogelman, PhD, Pulitzer Prize nominated author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust

“An incredible narrative, so finely detailed and distinctive, and a wholly consuming read. I gained a totally new insight into the traumas of the Holocaust and couldn’t put it down. Franci definitely had the writer in her, not to mention astonishing resilience and resourcefulness.” —
Susannah Sirkin, Director of Policy, Physicians for Human Rights

Franci’s War is a riveting account of how a young, spunky fashion designer in Prague survived the Holocaust, written with remarkable clarity, candor, and intelligence. A page-turning tale that makes for essential reading for today’s world. Helen Epstein provides a fascinating afterword and endnotes to her mother’s story, resulting in a profound meditation on a mother-daughter relationship formed by love and trauma. A deeply moving, extraordinary collaboration between mother and daughter in telling the story of their lives.” — Helen Fremont, national bestselling author of After Long Silence and The Escape Artist

Franci’s War is a compelling and candid memoir. She spares no one, least of all herself from her observations and impressive understanding of life within the concentration and death camps and beyond. A brave, timeless, important work.” — Michael Berenbaum, Professor, American Jewish University

“Female characters and the author’s relationships with them, notably with her cousin Kitty, are sources of comfort and support for Epstein throughout her ordeal and beyond, and at times it seems like all she has left are the women in her life. It’s almost as if Epstein may be making the point that, while the world is torn apart by the masculine chaos and brutality of the Second World War and the Nazi machine, it’s women who stay strong, keep going and, when it’s all over, resiliently put the world back together again.
Franci’s War deserves the status both as a valuable historical source and as a stand-out memoir of one woman’s human experience of arguably the most abominable period of modern times.” — Daily and Sunday Express (UK)

“[A] striking memoir... useful testimony from an unspeakably terrifying era.” ⁠—

“In a compelling voice, [Rabinek Epstein] illuminates the horror, shock, small graces, and capriciousness of surviving the Holocaust… This worthy account is testament to why it is as important as ever to read about the impacts of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and racial hatred, as well as the beliefs that cause some people to commit atrocities while others pretend to look away.” ⁠—
Library Journal

“Franci was... brilliant, wry, amazingly self-aware, and interesting... this memoir is so valuable, for here we have the story of a young Czech woman who could not only take a piece of fabric and shape it into a gorgeous dress, but who could also take her experiences during the Second World War and shape them into a compelling memoir, a work of art that is, not at all incidentally, totally relevant in 2020... [a] precise and even-handed, yet often harrowing memoir.” — Roberta Silman,
The Arts Fuse