Friday, 25 January 2019

Bookish Déjà-Vu: The Greater Hope by Ilse Aichinger

The racist frenzy of the Nazis that drove them to commit the most barbaric deeds in order to “protect” the actually only imagined purity of the Aryan bloodline of the German people didn’t spare the children. The smaller they were, the less they understood why they were banned from schools and playgrounds or why their friends shunned them all of a sudden. What is more, they certainly sensed the growing fear of the adults around them, not least because they were urgently warned against overstepping any of the new discriminating rules and they quickly learnt that it didn’t even need a transgression to experience violence. Family members vanished from their lives thanks to deportation or – like in the case of the only half-Jewish protagonist of the Austrian post-war classic The Greater Hope by Ilse Aichinger that I feature as a bookish déjà vu – to the flight to a safe haven.

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