Escape Home

Escape Home

Rebuilding a Life After the Anschluss

by Charles Paterson

Edited by Carrie Paterson, Hensley Peterson and Paul Anderson

Published by: DoppelHouse Press

570 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, Two-color art; 200 B&W photographs, maps, tables

  • Paperback
  • 9780997003468
  • Published: March 2017

$18.95

"An engrossing saga, profusely illustrated and fully documented, the stuff that makes an intriguing feature film. I heartedly endorse it."
— Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Director, The Frank Lloyd Wright Archives


"One of the more uplifting accounts of European émigré life that I have read in a long time.... It will touch you to tears right away, regardless of how many accounts of similar fates you believe to have studied and understood.... What a book!"
— Volker M. Welter, author of Ernest L. Freud, Architect


Charles Paterson (born Karl Schanzer, 1929) was only nine years old when the Nazis invaded Austria and his father, Stefan, fled with his children to avoid persecution. To assure their continued safety, the children were baptized and adopted by the Paterson family in Australia while Stefan made a harrowing escape through occupied France. It would be eight years, after much sorrow and loss, before Charles and his sister would reunite with Stefan in the United States.

After Charles and Stefan settle in Aspen, Colorado, amidst the snow-capped peaks that remind them of the Austrian Alps, Stefan becomes a high school teacher known for his humor and adventure stories while Charles teaches skiing, serves as a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, and then builds his thesis project, the The Boomerang ski lodge. Charles lives with Stefan at The Boomerang and, as Aspen grows into a world-class ski resort, spends fifty years welcoming thousands of people to the town with Austrian warmth and gemütlichkeit. Based on archival documents and letters, together with the authors’ personal reflections, Escape Home is a family memoir and a meditation on the domestic qualities of architecture, where the bonds of culture and family prove to be the true foundation for rebuilding meaningful lives and finding both security and freedom.