“My Holiday, 1949”

During each of her trips abroad, at least those taken in the latter part of her life, Mrs. Auerbach wrote detailed letters to her family to keep them informed about her activities. After each trip, these letters were typed and the pages bound to create books commemorating her experiences. The collection contains volumes from three vacations she spent traveling different parts of the world with her close friend and frequent traveling companion, Chase Going Woodhouse. The earliest travel journal has the format of a diary and details her visits to Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Trans-Jordan, Israel, Old Jerusalem, Switzerland, and Germany during her vacation from August to October, 1949.

In an excerpt of one of her entries, Mrs. Auerbach writes about the differences that have occurred in the years since she had visited Istanbul as a child:

“We drove into town through the old Ottoman Empire walls down to the Pera Palace Hotel, as we were unable to be ‘put up’ at the Park, which is far more modern but very small and our dates of arrival having been changed, the rooms could not be held. The Pera Palace is the same old hotel that Mother, Dad, Fan and I stopped at years ago, long before I was married. It is very run-down. The owner, a wealthy man, fills about twenty-five of the two-hundred-fifty rooms and then does not take any more guests, but just says politely but firmly, ‘I am full.'”

The travel journal is full of descriptions of the places that she and Mrs. Woodhouse visit. Mrs. Auerbach has quite strong opinions about many of the people she meets, but especially about the political and economic climates in the countries she explores. To me, the significance of this travel log is in its representation of one woman’s view of post-World War II life. Mrs. Auerbach talks a lot about the destruction that occurred during the war as well as what has been rebuilt and what life is like for people after the war. She definitely has her own point of view and it certainly makes for an interesting read!

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