We All Giggled tells the stories of two families that came together when the author’s parents met and married in 1945. The Hüglins had lost most of their fortune in the course of two world wars, and the Wachendorffs had survived the Nazi years despite their Jewish ancestry. The families’ roots are traced back to a vineyard in southern Germany, a jail in Geneva, the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, and the hometown of a Jewish merchant in Silesia.
This engaging book centres on the author’s recollections of his grandparents, his parents, and his own growing up in postwar Germany in an environment of bourgeois stability and comfort. As the author chronicles his family’s ups and downs and abiding love for music, food, and art across several generations, a rich tapestry of anecdotes unfolds—about opera singers, restaurants, and travels, and about family relations, romance, and the kind of “impromptu reactions to people, places, and situations that often result in uncontrollable giggles.”