When the Nazis come to power, KLARA HOFFMAN is just past 30, daughter of a well-to-do Jewish cloth manufacturer. Heinrich, her fiance, becomes a Nazi, and she breaks off their engagement. Jacob, her young brother, dies from a beating by a Nazi official, and on November 12, 1938 her father, Ernst, dies following the violence of the "Night of Broken Glass". Klara's brother Erik and her sisters have already left for the Americas. But Klara is sponsored by an English family, the Furlongs. She has to leave her mother, who eventually dies in the Auschwitz death camp. In England, Klara watches as war draws nearer. She strikes up a lasting friendship with Eleanor, the Furlongs' 10-year-old daughter, in time becomes a cafe waitress, and hopes to marry a British soldier,who is killed in North Africa. As the years pass, she allows herself to become a 'character'. Eleanor comes back into her life as a young mother of two. Klara (now known as Clare) briefly returns to the Furlongs' when she becomes homeless. Eventually she enters a retirement home where she makes cautious friends with an elderly artist inspired to return to portraiture by the strength and suffering he sees in her face. Klara's story poses the question: was Klara as much a victim of the nazis as if she had died in the gas chamber? Perhaps her survival argues that everyone who survives mankind's inhumanity is one more proof that the human spirit cannot ultimately be crushed. There is tragedy in Klara. But it is nt gloomy. It is a fictional biography based on a true story: Klara was sponsored out of Germany by the author's parents in 1939. What is known of her life is used, and the known episodes are linked with fiction based on fact.
BARBARA YATES ROTHWELL lived, married and brought up six children in Surrey, England, before emigrating to Western Australia in 1974 with her musician husband and their two youngest daughters. Her other children arrived in Australia in due course.
Also a musician and a trained singer, she was for ten years in the 1980s a music reviewer for The West Australian newspaper.
After founding and running the Yanchep Community School for eight years, and having successfully written and sold innumerable short stories and articles to major magazines in several countries, Barbara decided it was time to branch out into novel writing. Longman Cheshire published her teenage historical novel, THE BOY FROM THE HULKS, in 1994, and in 1998 her historical novel DUTCH POINT was published privately in England.
In 2004 she joined forces with Trafford Publishing (Canada) to produce COULTER VALLEY, an Australian story tracing the effects on a family of artists of a despotic father; and in 2005 the same cooperation produced KLARA, fiction based on fact, the story of a German Jewess who, forced to leave Nazi Germany, was sponsored by an English family.
Barbara was a journalist in the UK for several years, as Women's Page Editor for a large group of weekly papers in the south of England, and as a free-lance. She has also written two full-length and several one-act plays, which have been performed in community theatres in Western Australia and New South Wales.