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An Austrian Jew and photojournalist who was interned at 20 different Nazi camps between 1939 and 1945, Wander (1917–2006) first published this loosely structured novel in East Germany in 1970. Spare, haunting anecdotes memorialize Jews who died senseless, undignified deaths in Nazi concentration camps. In the Hirschberg camp, Mendel Teichmann, a 50-year-old atheist, keeps the other prisoners occupied with his wry tales; a Polish boy, Yossl, freezes after guards taunt him and shovel snow over him. While most prisoners gulp down their meager rations, the narrator describes how men like Pechmann... turn a crust of bread into a seven-course meal. On the eve of Buchenwald's liberation, the narrator watches Joschko, 10, patiently push food into his exhausted younger brother. The book is much more than a catalogue of horrors and of courage, as Wanders's narrator struggles to find the language to describe what he has seenn. This is a worthy addition to Shoah literature. (Dec.)
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[Stories] which both profoundly dismay and yet somehow exalt, and in doing so become crucial to our spiritual history. -- C. K. Williams, author of Repair: PoemsSee all Editorial Reviews
I think perhaps there is nothing that I could possibly say about this book to let you know that it is a worthwhile narrative except to quote some passages:
"On this... Read more
Very simply a beautifully written book. The history of the Holocaust, written as poetic prose by a survivor. Not just a survivor, but a survivor in every sense. Read morePublished 23 months ago by C Libanoff
..but it has NOT 'taken almost four decades' (back cover of my Granta edition) to be translated - unless versions published in the DDR (former East Germany) don't count? Read morePublished on June 19, 2013 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'
You don't have to be German to have translated this, but I do think you have to have been Jewish, and of Ashkenazi stock, as Marc Lander evidently was. Read morePublished on June 19, 2013 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'