Even at the age of 12, Rene was aware of the rise of fascism when growing up in Berlin, and had parents (Max and Maria Hodann) who were both politically involved in fighting the Nazis – both became refugees. We follow Rene’s life, first as a child, growing up in pre-Nazi Germany, then her emigration from Germany via Denmark to Britain in the 1933, when she arrived in Harwich from Esbjaerg. Rene acquired an international outlook during childhood from those who surrounded her in Berlin.
In the U.K. Rene became Rita Hinden’s secretary at the Fabian Colonial Bureau, a job which turned her into a ‘citizen of the world’. She met people from West to East, with Trinidad at one end to Malaysia at the other. Many became good friends, and with some a life-long closer contact developed. Later she laughed when at her home in Kings Gardens it was suddenly discovered that two Senators were sharing their meal with her, Muriel Green from Trinidad and Manae Kubota from Japan. Both had been mature students at Hillcroft College in Surbiton, where Rene taught for ten years.
This memoir covers a period spanning much of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, illuminating aspects of European history and politics. It also looks at how the author lived in political communities in both Germany and the U.K., as well as her political activity at both grass routes level and as well as a Labour Governor at two London schools.