A 100 year history of Gatooma Library


Peter Sternberg appreciation

Peter Sternberg

I have never met Peter Sternberg. His books have been posthumously published under the watchful eye of his wife Hermoine.
Peter’s two books, one a memoir – From the Reich to Rhodesia – and the other a history of Gatooma library provide insights into what was then Rhodesia, today Zimbabwe. Gatooma, or now Kadoma, has a library which is over 100 years old. Peter charts its history, the final edits undertaken by Sheilagh Barton as Peter was unable to do so. Alongside this is Peter’s memoir of his childhood, spending his early years in Germany and then emigrating to Rhodesia as a four-year-old as the family escaped Hitler’s clutches. What I found most fascinating were the hurdles placed in the way of those seeking to leave Germany, yet more so, the hurdles they had to overcome to get into another country. How so many managed it is incredible when these financial requirements are considered. Aside from this, Peter shares how he settled into life in Rhodesia as a young lad and it’s this grounding that develops into a love of the town and desire to capture the history of the library.
Peter’s books are not the only books TSL has published concerning Rhodesia – the British South Africa Police Association UK Branch have their backcatalogue republished as well as more recent books. In some of these Gatooma features to varying degrees. Knowing Peter’s experience of the town and seeing it through his eyes adds another dimension to the policing tales.