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Very little is known about Françoise Frenkel's life. She was born in Poland in 1889, and in 1921 set up the first French-language bookshop in Berlin with her husband. In 1939, she returned to Paris, and after the German invasion the following year fled to occupied Vichy. After several years in hiding, she made a desperate attempt to cross the border to Switzerland. Frenkel died in Nice in 1975. Her memoir, originally published in Geneva in 1945, was rediscovered in a flea market in 2010, republished in the original French and is now being translated and published in numerous languages for the first time.

Stephanie Smee is a translator of French adult and children's books into English. Her other languages include German, Italian and Swedish.