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April 30, 2012 3:45 pm

Madeleine Albright Details Jewish Roots in New Book

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Madeleine Albright. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Former Secretary of State and UN ambassador Madeleine Albright has written a new book, Prague Winter, in which she describes her discovery of her family’s Jewish roots.

Albright, the daughter of a Czech diplomat, was born in Prague in 1937. The family fled after the Nazi invasion in 1939, eventually immigrating to the United States. Albright was raised Catholic and eventually joined the Episcopal Church after her marriage to journalist Joseph Medill Patterson Albright. She was the first woman to be appointed U.S. Secretary of State in 1996 under President Bill Clinton.

In the 1990s, she began receiving letters from people who knew her family in Czechoslovakia and identified them as Jewish. She was never told by her parents of her Jewish heritage or of the fact that they chose to convert to Catholicism. She also wasn’t told that she had 25 relatives who had died in the Holocaust. Her new book uses this discovery to discuss the tumultuous period between 1937 and 1948.

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