What makes a good man bad? Nature or nurture? A story of secrets, lies, loss and abuse…
This is the story of my father Tomas Ungar, from the small Czech town of Boskovice, a Holocaust survivor who became the more-British-than-the-British Tom Unwin, erstwhile intelligence officer, United Nations diplomat and champion of the downtrodden.
But his whole life was a lie of one sort or another and, sifting through a suitcase-full of dusty documents, I gradually came to the hardest conclusion of all: it was possible to be part of the great Jewish exodus and still leave a trail of destruction in his wake.
Was it a case of nature vs nurture? Did my father inherit his cruel character from his father, Hermann Ungar, the Czech writer and diplomat, friend of Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig?
I tease out how a victim can become a perpetrator; why my charming and charismatic dad was in fact a wife-beating, narcissistic misogynist, who hid his Jewish roots and abandoned and kept secret his illegitimate daughter until his death-bed confession.
Tomas Ungar/Tom Unwin is an amoral everyman figure emerging rootless from a corner of Europe at the darkest hour – a reminder that it is not always history which shapes the man, but the man that shapes himself.
His story resonates across the decades and contributes fascinating insights into the debate on the influence of genes.
Tom has fled Prague, summoning his mother and younger brother. They arrived on 29 March 1939, 14 days after the Nazis invaded Prague.
Chapter 5 The metamorphosis of Tomas Ungar
Grete’s Certificate of Registration, issued on 29 June 1939, allowed her to stay in Britain for three months on condition that she did not ‘establish himself [sic] or seek any employment’. She rapidly agreed with Tomy that they should emigrate to Canada, where Rudi [her first husband] and John [son from that marriage] were also planning to go as soon as it could be arranged. Meanwhile, she rented a cheap flat on Fairfax Road near Swiss Cottage in northwest London, close to where I now live, from a couple whom Grete recalled had ‘dirty feet’ and ‘didn’t wash their clothes enough’.
Saturday, 6 July 2019
My book is now completety funded thanks to your generosity and my dear Ross who topped up the fund so we could get the book to its next stage!
I shall keep you all updated as to its progress although it may yet be slow as there's lots of pre-prodcution work to do...
Once again heartfelt thanks to you for supporting me.
Have a wonderful summer.
Now up to 55% funded
Saturday, 4 May 2019
A quick thank you this holiday weekend to you all for helping the book along its way. I aim to get it funded by the month-end so if you can share and spread the word, please do...
Here's a sneak preview photograph of my parents as they started life on the Groundnut Scheme in Tanganyika in the late 1940s:
10 days in and 43% target reached
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Thank you all for your support. Now the Easter weekend is over, any forwards and social media recommendations you can do as well would be great. The target this week is 50%!
Plus a great endorsement from Alan Samson, Chairman of Weidenfeld & Nicholson, who says 'I am very pleased. Your book absolutely deserves to be published and I am a great fan of Unbound. I shall do my bit for you and the book…
4 days in and 33% target reached! Thank you all...
Monday, 15 April 2019
Plus a great endorsement from Alan Samson, Chairman of Weidenfeld & Nicholson, who says 'I am very pleased. You book absolutely deserves to be published and I am a great fan of Unbound. I shall do my bit for you and the book!' Please share this great news - hopefully with the right thumbnail this time, not of my old book!
15% funded after TWO days
Saturday, 13 April 2019
Thank you all for your support so far...let's keep going and make this one of the fastest funded books on Unbound! Spread the word - tweet, insta and share on FB, plus forward to your friends. Thanks
These people are helping to fund The Boy from Boskovice: A Father's Secret Life.