My American Dream: A Journey from Fascism to Freedom


by Barbara Sommer Feigin (Author)

On August 4, 1940, the Seattle Times featured a photo of a toddler sitting on a dock, surrounded by suitcases and looking dazed. After a harrowing journey with her parents, she’d just stepped off a boat and into her new life in America. Barbara Sommer Feigin was that little girl.

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Over seventy years later, Feigin made a stunning discovery: her Jewish father had kept a detailed journal that chronicled their family’s escape from Nazi Germany. Her parents had never spoken of it, and she remembered nothing of their terrifying, death-defying passage three-quarters of the way around the world—from Berlin to Seattle by way of Lithuania, Russia, China, Korea, and Japan before crossing the Pacific.

Featuring three intertwining narratives, My American Dream is a memoir of resilience, grit, and grace. Feigin tells of her life as a young German-speaking refugee living in a small Washington town and yearning to become an “authentic” American. She details how she became a trailblazing executive in the advertising business in New York City—a completely male-dominated business in the 1960s—rising from the ranks and ultimately securing a seat in the executive boardroom. A devoted wife and mom of three sons (including one set of twins), she spent twenty-five years as a caregiver for her husband, who suffered two serious strokes, and remained fiercely committed to building strong family bonds during turbulent times.

Despite overwhelming odds, her parents’ grueling journey to America has fueled Feigin’s lifelong resolve to dream big, work hard, and never quit. My American Dream is an inspiring tale of love, dedication, and how uncovering the past and preserving history can inform your identity.

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