The World that was Ours

The World that was Ours

“It reads like a thriller page after page. . . . The loveliest of Hilda Bernstein's works about the ugliest of times.”—Albie Sachs, The Independent “Were it not for ordinary heroes like the Bernsteins, South Africa would not be free today.”—Guardian It was 1963 in South Africa during Apartheid when Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein was arrested, along with Nelson Mandela and fifteen other leaders of the African National Congress. They were charged with 221 acts of sabotage designed to “ferment violent revolution.” Rusty was one of two individuals acquitted, and the rest received life sentences. In The World that was Ours, his wife, Hilda Bernstein, offers an astonishing personal account of the events leading up to the “Rivonia Trial” and describes how, as a white family with four children, they managed to fight a hostile and unjust regime. There was a long night ahead. We are unable to read. We listen all the time, listen for the sound of a car in anticipation that the police will come. If he is in the hands of the police, surely they will bring him to the house to search; they always raid after an arrest. Hilda Bernstein (1915–2006) lived in London, but in 1933 moved to South Africa where she married Lionel Bernstein. She was elected as a Communist to the Johannesburg City Council; helped found the multiracial Federation of South African Women; and worked closely with the African National Congress' Women's League in opposition to apartheid.


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Publisher Persephone Books Limited
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Pages 394 pages
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