Poet Karen Gershon (1923–1993) opens A Tempered Wind, the sequel to volume 1 of her autobiography A Lesser Child, in 1943. It begins tragically with the death of Karen’s sister Anne in England, where they had escaped from Nazi Germany with their third sister Lise via the Kindertransport mission. A Tempered Wind proceeds to chart the difficult period from 1939 to 1943 as Karen adapts to a new culture and undertakes the complicated passage from adolescence to adulthood in the British Isles.
Now orphans—their parents were murdered by the Nazis—the sisters are separated, and Karen is left haunted by feelings of abandonment by her sister as well as her parents who sent her away from them. Such feelings, along with her struggle with her imperiled Jewish identity, make their way into Karen’s writing, which includes stories, essays, and poems. In writing, she starts to find a home in language. Charting the creative growth of an astonishing Jewish author, A Tempered Wind concludes with Karen making her own urgent way as a writer with a mission to tell the world her archetypal German Jewish story.