Swimming Upstream is a remarkable life story. Born in 1922 into a Viennese Jewish family, T. Scarlett Epstein (IDS Fellow 1972-77) was catapulted into immediate adulthood by the Austrian Anschluss. She had to learn to think on her feet in order to save herself and her family from the nightmares of the Holocaust. Her dangerous escape route took her from Yugoslavia to Albania; finally, after a terrifying flight via Germany, she arrived in England. Her ambitions to become a surgeon were dashed as she found herself sitting at a sewing machine in one of the many sweatshops in London. She attended night school and was awarded a scholarship to study for an economics degree. Days before her final exams she was severely burned in an accident. Unable to write and in excruciating pain, she dictated her exam answers from her hospital bed.
Unlucky in love, she concentrated on her work and spent two years in Indian villages as part of her doctoral studies, which marked the beginning of a brilliant academic career. On her return she met Bill Epstein, love blossomed over the seminar table, and for a time she experienced happiness as never before. The couple had an ideal working partnership that took them to such far-flung places as Papua New Guinea. However, plagued by childlessness and health problems, her private life continued to be a battle.
Dr T. Scarlett Epstein has become a strong swimmer over the years and her story of courage and determination, of love and loss will be an inspiration to many.