Fleeing the only home they've ever known in East Prussia after the flood of Nazism enters their lives, Isaac and Lulu Fabian assume that in Cambridge, in the apparent haven of Great Britain, they have found the freedom denied to them in Germany. But while the threat of losing their lives has diminished in their new country, the Fabians, like the countless other Jewish refugees in the UK, find themselves victims of a new type of persecution. They are not allowed to leave the city limits without official permission. They cannot own a radio, a bicycle, or even a map.
These so-called national security precautions come to a head when, in 1940, prejudice, ignorance, and suspicion propel the British government to round up Isaac and thousands of other German men, women, and children -- Nazi and Jew alike -- and ship them to the Isle of Man, a seemingly idyllic island off the coast of Ireland, to be interned until the war ends or the people are deemed a "non-threat."
Throughout the course of the war, the British government gives little news of the building Nazi genocide against the Jewish people of Eastern Europe. June Murray, a translator in the Ministry of Information, is one of the few in her country who know the truth about the atrocities being perpetrated across the continent -- a truth, however, that is being systematically suppressed by her superiors.
Sidestepping authority, June travels to the internment camps in order to build a dossier of eyewitness information about the reality of the Nazi regime. With this she hopes to change the policy of the Ministry of Information, and thus the way the British people think about the war. This political and social purpose shifts, however, into something more complex and more personal when she meets the internee Isaac Fabian, and their stories become intertwined in a way neither could have imagined.
Deeply moving, brilliantly rendered, and historically accurate, The Secret Purposes profoundly questions the way that truth -- both personal and political -- emerges from the tangle of history....Continua