Cover of the book Dear Mutzi
by Tess Scholfield-Peters

‘A heartfelt and beautifully written homage to Scholfield-Peters’ forebears, who were caught in the 20th century horrors of fascism and anti-semitism, and, in her loving portrait of her grandfather, to the survival of the human spirit. A moving contribution to the literature of the Shoah and its ricochet effect down the generations.' – Anna Funder

Harry Peters – formerly Hermann Ludwig Pollnow, known to his family as Mutzi – was born in Berlin in 1920. As a teenager, he fled Nazi Germany and landed in rural Australia. Harry’s parents, Max and Edith, stayed and perished in Nazi camps.

This story, of forced migration, assimilation, loss, resilience and determination despite the odds, is one that has been lived countless times throughout history and continues to be a common human experience. Harry’s particular experience also tells the history of refugee farmers in rural Australia and migrant labour companies during WWII. 

Scholfield-Peters tells her grandfather’s story with three intertwining threads: a sketched-out history based on Harry’s testimony and documentary history; her engagement with this personal history from a third-generation perspective; and the present story of Harry’s growing infirmities and eventual death in early 2021 at age 100.

Through the hybrid narrative non-fiction form, Scholfield-Peters investigates her family history and seeks to share an ethical historical account of Harry’s life. This work necessarily skirts the edges of fiction and non-fiction, as Scholfield-Peters weaves her deep research with Harry’s recollections and imagines the unknown details. 

About the author

Tess Scholfield-Peters is a Sydney-Eora based writer and academic. Currently she teaches creative writing at the University of Technology Sydney. Previously Tess worked as senior journalist for the independent community newspaper Urban Village, based out of Sydney’s Surry Hills. Tess’s writing spans the academic and literary fields with a focus on life writing and narrative non-fiction, hybrid literature and memory studies, and her work is featured in significant Australian and international publications. Dear Mutzi is her first book, drawn from her recently completed Doctorate.

Read an extract