Haya Tedeschi Sits Alone In Gorizia, North Eastern Italy, Surrounded By A Basket Of Photographs And Newspaper Clippings Now An Old Woman, She Waits To Be Reunited After Sixty Two Years With Her Son, Fathered By An SS Officer And Stolen From Her By The German Authorities During The War As Part Of Himmler S Clandestine Lebensborn Project, Which Strove For A Racially Pure Germany Haya S Reflection On Her Catholicized Jewish Family S Experiences Deals Unsparingly With The Massacre Of Italian Jews In The Concentration Camps Of Trieste Her Obsessive Search For Her Son Leads Her To Photographs, Maps And Fragments Of Verse, To Testimonies From The Nuremberg Trials And Interviews With Second Generation Jews, As Well As Witness Accounts Of Atrocities That Took Place On Her Doorstep A Broad Collage Of Material Is Assembled, And The Lesser Known Horror Of Nazi Occupation In Northern Italy Is Gradually Unveiled Written In Immensely Powerful Language, And Employing A Range Of Astonishing Conceptual Devices, Trieste Is A Novel Like No Other Dasa Drndic Has Produced A Shattering Contribution To The Literature Of Our Twentieth Century History A very moving book that mixes a fictional personal story with history, including many detailed accounts of Nazi atrocities, focusing on the area around Trieste and its complex mixture of nationalities.The central character Haya Tedeschi is a Jewish Italian with some Austrian and Slovenian ancestry the first part of the book describes the lives of her parents and grandparents and some of the history of the region, including the bloody conflict between Italy and Austria during World War One Born in the small town of Gorizia in 1923, Haya s family is forced to move several times, spending the first part of World War Two in Albania before returning to the Adriatische K nstenland where she has a child fathered by an SS officer who is involved in running extermination camps who is based on and shares the name of a real war criminal, though his relationship with Haya is fictional Her son is abducted, and she spends most of her life amassing evidence and trying to trace him In the final part the son discovers that he was adopted as part of the Lebensborn eugenics program, and their paths start to converge.At one point over 40 pages are devoted to a list of 9000 Italian victims of the Holocaust, and much of the rest is devoted to case studies of various war criminals and other witnesses.This is not an easy or comfortable read, but it feels weighty and important in the same way as Sebald s related books. The review below appears in The Quarterly Conversation, Issue 37 In the opening passages of Da a Drndi s Trieste, an elderly woman, Haya Tedeschi, sits in a rocking chair in her third story apartment in the Northern Italian town of Gorizia, close to the port of Trieste Is that the chair whimpering or is it me She asks the deep emptiness, which, like every emptiness, spreads its putrid cloak in all directions to draw her in, her, the woman rocking, to swallow her, blanket her, swamp her, envelop her, ready her for the rubbish heap where the emptiness, her emptiness, is piling the corpses, already stiffened, of the past.As Drndi reiterates throughout the novel, Behind every name there is a story And Haya Tedeschi s story is draped in death Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps she pored over movie magazines while thousands of Jews and partisans were killed in the former rice mill San Sabba she attended concerts with her Nazi lover, Oberscharf hrer Kurt Franz, while families were torn apart And on April 13, 1945, the Holocaust was brought home to her when her infant son Antonio was stolen out of his stroller Throughout Trieste, Haya waits for Antonio to be found, to return to her As she waits, she echoes a refrain from T.S Eliot s The Waste Land, HURRY UP PLEASE IT S TIME In the novel s epigraph, Drndi quotes Jorge Luis Borges A single moment suffices to unlock the secrets of life, and the key to all secrets is History and only History, that eternal repetition and the beautiful name of horror The central question of Trieste is the impossibility of coming to terms with the horrors of history, when historical cycles blend past, present, and future and there is no clear way to avoid repeating yesterday s bloodshed The novel itself is not built on character development or plot twists Instead, Drndi amasses archival evidence that damns not only the Nazi regime but all bystanders for their complicity in the Holocaust The novel bears witness, and demands its readers do the same.Jan Morris describes the city of Trieste as an allegory of limbo, demonstrated by its shifting political allegiances first as a part of the Habsburg empire, then later given to Italy, briefly ruled by the Germans during World War Two, and finally given back to Italy in 1954 against the wishes of Yugoslavia In 1943, when the Germans took over Trieste, they established a police barracks and extermination camp in the former rice mill of San Sabba Drndi s documentary evidence of the horrors experienced there shines a light on an often overlooked part of the Holocaust And the ability of local families such as the Tedeschis to blend into the majority during periods of crisis presents questions of culpability and identity What does it mean to be Jewish How to cope with the human toll of a commitment to national identity Are children guilty of the sins of their parents Are any families free from the ghosts of ancestors mistakes Throughout Trieste, Drndi provides a wealth of historical evidence trial transcripts, interviews, photographs, music, maps, genealogical charts This documentary evidence is presented in overwhelming detail In one 44 page span, Drndi provides a list of about 9,000 Jews who were deported from Italy, or killed in Italy or in the countries Italy occupied between 1943 and 1945 Drndi s approach recalls Roberto Bola o s list of murdered women in Mexico in 2666, and to a lesser extent his encyclopedia of fictional literary fascists, Nazi Literature in the Americas Drndi s approach is different in part because of the years of archival research behind the novel, in part because of the sheer variety of documents she presents In some cases, she even brings the dead back to life, as when she presents testimony from those who died in the concentration camps And in the rooms of archives like Bad Arolsen lie millions of stories waiting to be told At the baroque palace in Bad Arolsen, on huge sliding shelves marked with the names of the camps, cities, battles, regions, in alphabetical registers, lurk unfinished stories, trapped fates, big and little personal histories, embodied histories, there are people huddled there who languish, ghost like, and wait for the great Mass of Liberation, the eucharistic celebration after which they will finally lie down, fall asleep or depart, soaring heavenward Bad Arolsen, this vast collection of documented horror,preserves the patches, the fragments, the detritus of seventeen, yes, in digits, 17 million lives on 47 million pieces of paper collected from twenty two concentration camps and their satellite organizations.Drndi also provides a window into Haya Tedeschi s thoughts through morbidly lyrical passages detailing Haya s dreams and internal visions Throughout the novel, during her decades of waiting, Haya is haunted by ghosts She hears voices where there are none Her voices are dead All the same, she converses with the voices of the dead, she quibbles with them, sometimes she slumps limply into their arms and they whisper to her and guide her through landscapes she has forgotten There are times when events boil over in her mind and then her thoughts become an avenue of statues, granite, marble, stone statues, plaster figures that do nothing but move their lips and tremble.Her memories a graveyard, Haya is surrounded by decay and rot She dreams of corpses and skulls, of dragging her mother by her legs to hide her She leafs through the archival records she has amassed, which she keeps in a red basket by her feet Now, in 2006, while she waits, while she sifts through the past as if opening dry beanpods from which the beans fall like sealed, enslaved little stories composed of images flitting by in flashes, while she digs through the red basket at her feet uncovering the crusty layers in the little piles of sealed lives, out slips the envelope, so she puts it on her lap and rocks it as if it is a stillborn child.In 2006, as Haya walks the streets of Gorizia, the dead arereal to her than the neighbors she passes She cannot see, nor is she watching She has wax plugs in her ears She does not hear She has little memories, darting memories, fragmented She sways on the threads of the past On the threads of history She swings on a spider s web.Haya used to look to literature for answers to her pain and guilt, and the novel is filled with quotations from T S Eliot and Romain Rolland, Jean Giono and Ezra Pound She even engages in a debate with Kierkegaard over despair and memory But by the end of her period of waiting, she has grown weary of words, preferring numbers and formulas instead, because everything is in formulas, everything Haya s lover Kurt Franz lived the instability of language An amateur photographer, he meets Haya in a tobacco shop, when he buys film They soon begin to meet in secret, screening away the reality of war Franz presents himself as cultured, handsome, charming, an avid gardener who loves his dog Barry, lives for music, and is a devoted son In reality, before arriving at Trieste, Franz oversaw final operations at Treblinka, pushing through final executions and killing inmates by his own hand, or by ordering Barry to attack male inmates And then, in 1943, he was assigned to Trieste, where he was responsible for overseeing the executions of Jews and partisans in San Sabba Haya and Franz s relationship illustrates the destructive power of relationships The way lives interweave yet never touch, only to collide in mutual destruction, inconceivably distant in their simultaneity Haya is not the only character haunted by Kurt Franz s crimes Their son, Antonio Tedeschi, was kidnapped under the Lebensborn project, a German program designed by Himmler to ensure the racial purity of the German race by providing care for pregnant women, and later by enabling German families to adopt children who met the racial and biological standards set by the Nazis Many of these children were kidnapped Antonio provides his own testimony in the final chapters of Trieste, the only chapters written in the first person, adding to the immediacy and power of his witnessing He speaks of his anguish in learning that the Traubes, who raised him as Hans Traube, were not his biological parents, as well as his pain and guilt in learning that his biological father was a Nazi He holds himself complicit in his father s actions by virtue of having Franz s blood running through his veins.In a telling detail, Hans is a professional photographer, which both represents his bearing witness, and provides a link with his biological father, the amateur photographer My situation is complicated many times over I was stolen I am a Lebensborn child But theninto my life crept that murderer, S.S Untersturmf hrer Kurt Franz and that Jewish woman who spread her legs for him, for the blonde angel of death, the admirer of music and nature, the bad amateur fanatic photographer, the baby faced executioner, she spread her legs while trains rumbled past, right there in front of her nose, on their way to killing grounds all over the Reich.Antonio notes that his story is shared by many others, as he provides testimony from other Lebensborn children Their experiences reveal the continuation of hatred, secrecy, racism, and pain decades beyond the end of World War II There s no outlet for their pain, no compensation that can give them back, not only their childhood, but also their sense of self.Antonio s voice is clear, strong, anguished Like Haya, he attempts to reconstruct his identity through archival research Crucially, they are both looking for some respite from the burden of history but Drndi does not provide much hope As Antonio says near the conclusion of the novel, Together, we will drape ourselves in the histories of others, believing that those pasts are our pasts and we shall sit and we shall wait for those pasts to fall into our lap like a fat, dead cat And he concludes with a chilling reflection on the repetition of history We should probably be able to learn something from the repetition of history, repetitio est mater studiorum, but despite the fact that history stubbornly repeats itself, we are bad learners, and History, brazen and stubborn, does not desist, it goes right on repeating and repeating itself, I will repeat myself until I faint, it says, I will repeat myself to spite you, it says, until finally you come to your senses, it says, yet we do not come to our senses, we just grow our hair, hide and lie and feign innocence Besides, for some of us, those of us who like Santa Claus lug sacks on our backs, sacks brimming with the sins of our ancestors, History has no need to return, History is in our marrow, and here, in our bones, it drills rheumatically and no medicine can cure that History is in our blood and in our blood it flows quietly and destructively, while on the outside there s nothing, on the outside all is calm and ordinary, until one day, History, our History, the History in our blood, in our bones, goes mad and starts eroding the miserable, crumbling ramparts of our immunity, which we have been cautiously raising for decades. This is Trieste, when the Nazis came and so, from one Trieste to another.It helped to read Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere by Jan Morris first, giving me some sense of the history of the area and the people A brief takeaway is that Trieste was once part of the Austro Hungarian Empire as well as being Italian And even after the duality stopped, Trieste was never quite all Italian Maps changed, and names changed, but Trieste was stillwell, Morris would say nowhere Da a Drndi writes that when the Nazis come Trieste lives its schizophrenic moment again, in war, its parallel lives, real and unreal, contradictory.This Trieste is what I would call a docu drama part documentary and part novel The novel threads itself through testimonies, pictures and a list of names It may look weird, but it works.The atrocities are retold here, and graphically, using testimonies and memories Small biographies let us know who the dozens of S.S Sturmbannf hrers and Unterscharf hrers and Stabsscharf hrers were Plain people, opportunists really, who mostly melted back into society when their unspeakable acts were over.The fictional part of this book the novel, if you will concerns the Lebensborn Project The Lebensborn Project was designed at first to care for racially and biologically quintessential pregnant women who would give birth to racially and biologically quintessential sons of the homeland, perfect stallions at least one metre eighty centimetres tall, blonde and blue eyed, muscles bulging, and sleek, disciplined Spartans. Soon, Himmler opened dozens of Lebensborn homes where certified Aryan women would give birth to their illegal children in secrecy Other acceptable looking sons were just stolen.The Catholic Church abetted this A document, confirmed by Pope Pius XII, ordered that children who have been baptized must under no circumstances be handed over to Jewish agencies with responsibility for the care of children, because these agencies cannot guarantee the further Christian upbringing of these Jewish children, who were saved by the Church during the war and were Catholicized with such benevolence and salvation, especially if these Jewish agencies are handing these, during the war, benevolently Catholicized children back to the Jews. Meaning, the child s mother and father.Haya Tedeschi is there when the Nazis come She becomes the secret lover of Kurt Franz She will have his baby, a son, which Franz will see before he leaves for Treblinka, where he will be the camp commander At his trials, many years later, Franz will deny everything It is obviously false, Franz says Tedeschi ist ein j discher Name.The son is baptized by the local priest who then apprises the authorities The acceptable looking child, now a Christian soul, is kidnapped Lebensborn. Will they ever find each other Elvira Weiner testified Later I wondered not then, later why I had been saved, and some others were not, now I know no one was saved. There are 44 pages with a list of the 9,000 Jews who were deported from Italy or killed in Italy in the countries Italy occupied between 1943 and 1945 My first thought was gimmick But by the time I got to the list there was a heaviness that made me feel I would be disrespectful if I didn t go through the names It made me wonder Did an Ottolenghi somehow survive and create a chef in a following generation Did a Modiano make it to France Did an American historian named Remini lose family that stayed Behind every name is a story, the author tells us I looked again, at two full pages of the surname Levi I followed the alphabetical order and there it was Primo Synni Lyngstad was eighteen when she fell in love with a married S.S sergeant Their daughter was born in November, 1945 The mother and daughter were taken to Sweden as part of Lebensborn The daughter was told her father was dead Then in 1977 a German magazine published a story about my background and claimed that former S.S Sergeant Alfred Haase was alive So I found my father, who came to Sweden to meet me It was difficult to talk with him He was an elderly S.S man and a retired pastry chef I don t believe he was a war criminal he was never taken to court The two of us are physically similar and this disturbs me My name is Anni Frid Lyngstad I was a singer in ABBA The brunette. For sixty two years she has been waiting.She sits rocks by a tall window in a room on the third floor of an Austro Hungarian building in the old Gloriza.The rocking chair is old and, as she rocks, it whimpers Foul breath fills the room whose whose fills the room, rising to a raging torrent and she knows she must arrange the pebbles around her grave stone, now, just in case, in case he doesn t come, in case he does, after she has been expecting him for sixty two years.This is the 4th of Das a Drndic s 5 novels available in English translation 5 of her last 6 published in Croatian which I have read, and as well as an excellent book in its own right, what is striking is how well the novels blend together, including intertextual elements, to form one overall impressive and powerful work.Trieste, translated by Ellen Elias Bursa from the original Sonnenschein, opens in 2006 with the 83 year old Haya Tedeschi waiting in her room in the town of Gorizia in the area of Trieste on the Italian Slovenian border waiting for the son who was snatched from her, as a baby, in 1944 The book has been reviewed extensively elsewhere, and I have reviewed Drndi s other translated novels extensively see below , but I will just focus here on how she so cleverly combines archival fact with fictional characters and intertextual references to produce something unique.Haya Tedeschi s early life and her family history, in the first third of the novel, set in the turbulent first decades of the 20th Century, are based with permission of the real life Fulvia Schiff see But Fulvia Schiff married an allied soldier and settled in the UK, whereas Drndi has Haya instead meet a German soldier and become pregnant with his child A thirty year old German in a uniform comes into her tobacco shop Oh, he is handsome as a doll The German already has the polish nickname Lalka, but at this point, when she first sees the dashing German, Haya knows nothing of that, the dashing german tells her later, I am no Lalka, you are my Lalka.This German soldier is based on without permission and indeed essentially is the real life SS officer Kurt Franz see , who rose from a cook at the Sonnerstein euthansia camp to commandant at Treblinka His nickname Lalka baby face wholly inappropriate for his sadistic behaviour in 1965 he was found guilty of collective murder of at least 300,000 people, and 35 counts of murder involving at least 139 people The real life Franz did spend time in the area of Trieste and Gorizia after the Treblinka camp was dismantled although is not known to have fathered a child with a local In the novel, Franz abandons his pregnant, Jewish, lover, but when she gives birth her child is snatched She 62 years later, as the novel opens, finds that the boy was taken into the Lebensborn program and eventually placed with a German foster family.Drndi has this boy be the photographer who accompanied the real life journalist Niklas Frank when he interviewed in 1982 the author Drndi has acknowledged as her most important influence, the great Thomas Bernhard for translated extracts from the real life interview This interview took place in Gmunden where Thomas Bernhard lived in his renovated farmhouse, close to Schloss Oberweis which, during the war, was renamed Alpenland the base of the Lebensborn organisation.And the real life Frank himself was to realise over time that his beloved father Hans Frank who died when he was 7, was actually a Nazi war criminal, executed at Nuremburg.In this novel, The son s adoptive parents are also closely acquainted with Isabella Fischer from the twin novellas Doppelg nger published earlier than Trieste in the original Croatian , having acquired some of her confiscated property, and indeed they are the people who send her the chocolates she receives each year in the earlier book.And Haya herself reappears in the later novel Belladonna, where Andreas Ban reads this novel, meets Haya Tedeschi, and later meets the English translator Ellen Elias Bursa.Stunning 4.5 stars.Bibliography.Da a Drndi s last 6 works of fiction were Doppelg nger 2002 , translated into English as Doppelg nger 2018 by Celia Hawkesworth and SD CurtisMy review for 2019 Republic of Consciousness PrizeLeica Format 2003 , translated into English as Leica Format 2015 by Celia HawkesworthSonnenschein 2007 , translated into English as Trieste 2012 by Ellen Elias Bursa Shortlisted for 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction PrizeApril u Berlinu 2009 , as yet untranslatedBelladonna 2012 , translated into English as Belladonna 2017, by Celia HawkesworthMy review 2018 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation Prize and was shortlisted for the 2018 EBRD Literature Prize and 2018 Oxford Weidenfeld PrizeE.E.G 2016 , translated into English as E.E.G 2018 , by Celia HawkesworthMy review I ve read reviews in which people call this book a brilliant novel, and in my mind brilliance is beside the point and whether or not this is a novel I could not say It is a powerful weaving together of prose, poetry, oral histories and other historical documentation A book in which a character tries to come to terms with her choices during a time of war, and for all of her years lived after the war, forces herself to look unflinchingly at her complicity and tries to unravel the mystery of her son s disappearance a good 60 years before this novel s chronological present I ve heard Trieste described as documentary fiction , a category I didn t know existed, and one I like very much People compare her to Sebald, and I don t know if I agree Her writing is much messier and much harder to assimilate, there is none of Sebald s smoothness Instead of walking and talking like a tour guide, it is almost as if someone is talking in the way of the ancient mariner, but without any care as to who is listening Haya doesn t seem to notice us, she is quiet and determined and perhaps a little monomaniacal I realize that is a conflict of terms Meanwhile, Drndic is screaming I can feel her voice going hoarse, her mania, her horror and frustration as she uncoversandevidence of the horrors of history that go on unwitnessed, un addressed, unjustified, still clawing into our collective consciousness If only there could be some kind of reparation, so we can move onto a clean page But there are no clean pages Every page has the names of the dead, of the dead and forgotten who were killed unjustly and who suffered horrifically, and the dead and forgotten whose magnificent crimes were ignored What ishorrific That the victims are forgotten That perpetrators, sadistic,than willing engineers of vast killing machines, got a pat on the back and walked away to lead normal lives One goodreads reviewer said she wished Drndic had taken another year to assimilate her raw materials before putting it all into this novelistic form, but it is the failure of the novel to assimilate its own contents that, I think, makes it such a force of nature It is the unresolvable tension between Haya s quiet plodding voice and Drndic s rageful despair that makes this book a thorn in an ocean sized paw In a way this book is a critique of assimilation and the novelistic form People want well crafted stories that have good table manners and even do most of the chewing and swallowing for them Drndic kind of gives us all a big, beautiful fuck you, and says, look at this mess This is what history is It s an overgrown, underchewed, gristly, grizzly mess But it doesn t have to be Or maybe it does Because we are pitiful, spiteful and frail We either walk away from our genealogy and our mistakes, or we re destroyed by them I uniquely experience in this book the weight of and continuity between the two world wars, how they are part of the same inexorable tectonic shifting of history, and all of this through the life of a little port town and its own shifting national identities, and in particular, through the days of Haya Tedeschi, an Italian born Jew whose family is caught up in all the currents of these wars and doing its best to survive, often by keeping their world view small and focused on not rattling any windows In fact the family converts to christianity I can t recall if it is a full conversion and sides with the fascists because it is the path of least resistance literally and it is at this time, during the second world war, when the family is doing its best to stay under the radar and going so far as to resent the resistance fighters and see them as trouble makers and the nazis and fascists as the civilizing force, that Haya meets a charming, boyish nazi officer and has an affair with him She is around twenty years old and relatively innocent of critical thought, just letting herself be swept in the directions that bring her the most ease of pleasure and the least risk of pain Something like that And then she gets pregnant and her nazi reveals his true colors in an understated and chilling moment He leaves Trieste and leaves Haya to manage on her own with the child, and she is happy to do that But when her child disappears the course of her life changes She spends much of the rest of her life trying to find him, and forcing herself to look at the horrors of the war and particularly those perpetrated by her sons father At the center of this work is the tragedy and crisis of the children, particularly Jewish children, kidnapped or held hostage by the church i.e never returned to their family of origin after the war so they could be raised as proper christians the mechanics of this continue long after the war and of the lebensborn children conceived as part of the nazi project of spreading their genetics far and wide Many of the former never discovered their true identities, or by the time they did, it too late for reparation Many of the latter were horribly abused after the end of the war, and even those who weren t often suffered and still suffer greatly trying to make existential sense of being born of murderers One of thefamous lebensborn, acknowledged in this novel, is Anni Frid of Abba Also central to the novel is the history of the internment camp death camp in Trieste called San Sabba Toward the end of the novel we move away from Haya and toward her son, a professional photographer his father was an amateur one, and, as Antonio Tedeschi Hans Traube tells us, untalented While I am often distracted and disappointed by shifts in perspective, this shift deepens my experience of the story it is very meaningful given the address of trauma through generations Though their life experiences quite different their emotional struggles are hauntingly similar When I write about the role of my mother in the universal history of infamy, I will not know who strolled around the San Sabba rice mill, who snapped pictures of San Sabba, my mother or I, who searched through the files of the officials of the Adriatisches Kustenland, she or I, who studied the detailed form the life of SS Untersturmfuhrer Kurt Franz, Haya Tedeschi or I, Hans Traube Antonio Tedeschi, who was it that visited Treblinka Together, we will drape ourselves in the histories of others, believing that those pasts are our pasts and we shall sit and we shall wait for those pasts to fall into our lap like a fat, dead cat 351 Some quotes from the novel I could post many , but not sure where to begin or end Her grandfather was born in Gorz Her mother was born in Gorz She was born in Gorizia Gorica When the Great War broke out, the began moving, living in many places She doesn t know what Gorz was, nor does she know what Gorizia is now though she has been here nearly sixty years She take walks along Gorizia s streets, but hers are brief forays, quick walks, walks with a purpose, jaunts Even when she takes longer strolls, when her strolls areleisurely when the days are mild and her room feels stale, a humid inertia , Haya doesn t notice the big changes in her surroundings She feels as if she has been sitting for sixty years in a shrinking room, a room whose walls are moving slowly inward to meet at a miniature surface, a line, at the apex of which she sits, crushed She cannot see, nor is she watching She has wax plugs in her ears She does not hear Gore, Gorizia, are memories She isn t certain whose memories they are Hers or her family s Maybe they are fresh memories When she goes out she squints at the sun, picks daisies, sits at the Joy Cafe and smokes She has not let herself go She does not wear black She is not forever rocking back and forth All is as it should be She has a television She has little memories, darting memories, fragmented She sways on the threads of the past On the threads of history She swing son a spider s web She is very light Around her, in her, now is quiet Giros has a history, she has a history The days are so old 8 MINCULPOP is born, the Ministry of Popular Culture, and with it new dictionaries, orthographies, patriotism the use of foreign phrases Is banned, and they are replaced by Italian surrogates Maxim Gorky is dubbed Massimo Amaro, but he is swiftly removed from the libraries and bookshops Louis Armstrong becomes Luigi Fortebraccio, and Benny Goodman is Benjamin Buonuomo shortly thereafter MINCULPOP bans all jazz performance and broadcasts Life in the Tedeschi family goes on For Haya it is altogether ordinary, completely forgettable, as ordinary life is, until the day when, at the beginning of the school year in September 1938, her teachers Nella Negri, Amato di Veroli, Samuel Tagliacozzo, Massimo Pavoncello and Viola Sass do not show up to teach Geography, Mathematics, History, Italian and Physical Education Until the day when Florian, after dinner, whispering in a conspiratorial hush, as if about to say something obscene, declares, We are Jews, and Haya asks, What does that mean47 On San Sabba So in 1976 Haya makes a little file, utterly pointless She writes out notes, arranges them, rearranges them, as if shuffling a pack of cards I could play solitaire with these notes, she says, which, in a sense, she does This dog eared file, full of cracked photographs of people, most of whom no longer exist, becomes Haya s obsession over the year she supplements her collection, slips into it little oddities, terse news items which after two, three, four decades she digs out and peruses, as if grabbing at dry dandelion fluff, as if catching eiderdown in a warm wind Pointless, pointless Forgotten dossiers, sealed archives open slowly, slowly, and what emerges is nothan water dripping from cracked sewage pipes During the Trieste trial in 1976 only the two big fish remain Josef Oberhauser, brewer in Munich, former San Sabba commander and from 1941 to the end of the war Dr Dietrich Allers, a high ranking official, one of the executive directors of the T4 program, a lawyer and SS Obersturmbannfuhrer approximately a colonel But Allers dies a year before the trial, in 1975 Born in 1910 in Hamburg, Allers worked as an attorney until 1968, when he is sentenced to eight years in prison, which he does not serve out So all the fuss, all the pursuit of justice for nothing, because according to the agreements in force at the time between Italy and Germany, only those suspected of crimes committed after 1948 may be extradited The trial goes on literally in a void no defendants sit in the courtroom, the judges natter on, journalists snap their cameras at no one In a solemn voice the judgement is read out to unschooled farmer Josef Oberhausen, but Josef Oberhausen is nowhere to be seen, so to whom is the judgement read Oberhausen is sentenced in Trieste to life imprisonment, yet in Munich he goes on selling beer, especially during the Oktoberfest, when he is in particularly fine fettle Three years later, in 1079, fat Oberhausen dies of a heart attack On Barry, the dog of nazi Kurt FranzI don t know how he was with children, but he was docile After Treblinka closed, Barry was taken in by a Nazi physician and in 1944 the doctor sent Barry to his wife in northern Germany Several years later they put Barry down, because he was old and feeble Later, in 1965, veterinarians and psychologists from Dusseldorf asked the famous behavioral scientist Konrad Lorenz to shed some light on the dog s behavior Lorenz told them that such behavior in a dog is altogether plausible that a dog s behavior expresses the subconscious of the dog s master, as Lorenz put it If he has an aggressive master, the dog will probably attack other people, Lorenz said, and if the behavior of his master changes, the dog s behavior will change as well, Lorenz said, and Lorenz can be believed, because during the war he was a loyal Nazi who changed masters after the war and was given the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his research into animal and human behavior. 278 On the church s role in child kidnapping during and after the war It is known, writes Morelli, that at the time of the war many children found shelter in Catholic monasteries, in boarding schools and in schools, but not at the behest of the Pope, writes Morelli It is well known that after the war the Jews who survived had serious difficulties locating their children, retrieving their children from Catholic institutions, writes Morelli, but until now it was only possible to surmise that the Church was systematically stealing Jewish children in order to indulge Jesus For sixty years the Church and its servants have been striving to prove to the world that they have no blemish on their conscience for their activities as far as World War Two is concerned, writes Morelli For sixty years the Church has been trying to prove the innocence of Pope Pius XII and many of his bishops and priests If there is anything that has been preserved with dedication and faith, anything that has been sacrosanct in the church books, then it is the dates of baptisms and deaths, writes Morelli, so it wouldn t be difficult to ascertain what happened to the baptized Jewish children If Switzerland, so called neutral Switzerland, has mustered the strength to set up the edgier Commission, the I.C.E An independent commission of experts though only on 12 December, 1996, writes Alfonso Morelli, to prove the ties between the Nazi regime and the Swiss banks who had at their disposal vast quantities of stolen Jewish property if Australia has spoken out about the children kidnapped by their authorities, stolen from Aborigines during World War One, writes Morelli, then instead of obscuring history, the Catholic Church can get off its are and throw open its archives And not only that, writes Morelli It is time for the Church to stop pretending, to stop lying about how its greatest crime during the war was inadequate involvement in saving Jews, writes Morelli, it is time for the Church to stop believing that it is enough for it to launch anaemic apologies for its inadvertent lapses, these ecclesiastical apologies, which are becomingandrevolting over time, truly disgusting, insipid, writes Alfonso Morelli, because, he writes, it is reasonable to deduce that this letter written to Cardinal Roncalli is not the only incriminating document hidden in the vast secret archives of the Catholic Church We are hopeful it has become clear by now, writes Morelli, that the Church should slow things down a bit as far as the panicked, nearly hysterical race to beautify, canonize, whatever, Pius XII, who, ah, now this is something that is widely known, writes Morelli, was at the head of a Church which was openly championing anti Semitism at a time when the Nazis and Fascists were persecuting and murdering Jews on a grand scale He, Pius XII, led a Church in which many German priests abused church birth registers in order to help the Nazis determine who should be first to wear a yellow star and then be killed, and some German priests kept right on doing this officially for an entire decade after the Holocaust ended, in order to convince those Jews once and for all that they were guilty of murdering Christ Just as a reminder, writes Morelli, the Reichskonkodat , a concordat signed on 20 July, 1933, between the Holy See and the Reich, is in force in Germany to this day During that time, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, is Secretary of the Vatican, and he is the one who signs this concordat, while Cardinal Micheal von Faulhaber, writes Morelli, in a sermon given in Munich in 1937, says, Now, when the leaders of the greatest world nations observe the rise of the new Germany with a dose of reservation and much skepticism, the Catholic Church, this greatest moral force on earth, is showing its trust in the new German authorities through this concordat, which is an act of vast significance, because it contributes to the strengthening of the renown of the new authorities throughout the world, says Faulhaber, writes Morelli Abe Foxman tells me, continues Morelli, and Foxman is director of the Anti Defamation League, writes Morelli, that they placed him, Foxman, with a Polish family and his nanny had him secretly baptized, and later there were terrible problems, all sorts of complications, before he was returned to his parents I believe that today there are tens of thousands of Jewish children in the world who were saved and then baptized, Abraham Foxman tells me, writes Alfonso Morelli, children who do not know to this day of their origins, nor will they ever learn of them, says Foxman, writes Morelli 284 Behind Every Name There is a StoryAbeasis ClementeAbeasis EsterAbeasis GiorgioAbeasis Rebecca Zundler Henriette CeciliaZwirblawsky Enoc HerschZylber SzayaZynger Jerachmil.These are the first and last of a list of around 9,000 Jews from Italy or Italian occupied countries killed between 1943 and 1945 Forty four pages printed in four columns of small type, they stand like a granite wall separating the first half of this book from the second Although visually the most unusual feature in this totally extraordinary Holocaust novel, it is not the only one there are court transcripts, poems, entries from a biographical dictionary, fragments in many languages, and even grainy photographs in the manner of W G Sebald And names, names, names.The protagonist, though based on fact, is fictional Haya Tesdeschi, an old woman of 83, sits in her room in Gorizia, on the border between Italy, Austria, and Croatia, and waits to meet her son, stolen from her by the Germans as a baby, 62 years before, in 1944 But the photos in the basket at her feet go back even farther, to when her parents had not yet met and Gorizia was an international spa As she does throughout the book, Drndic paints the picture in Homeric fashion, by conjuring up names Ah, all the actresses, duchesses, dancers all the poets, journalists, singers and marquises whom He gets to know and love long after his first forays to local brothels at sixteen when He pawned His grandfather s watch ah, Teodolinde and Clemenze, and Giselda Zucconi, and Olga Ossani Maria Luisa Casati Stampa, amasser of exotic animals and bizarre furniture oh, Ida Rubinstein, Isadora Duncan, the singer Olga Levi Brunner, and after her, the pianist Luisa Baccara, then the wealthy American painter Romaine Goddard Brooks, who later comes out as a lesbian then, oh Lord, celebrated Eleanora Duse It goes on, the list of names, famous and forgotten, beginning as an unstoppable lyrical stream, but changing eventually to a meticulous accounting of atrocity Haya is born, grows up, meets a charming young German soldier nicknamed The Doll, bears his child Meanwhile trains pass through Gorizia, trains whose schedules are notated in numbing detail A nearby rice factory is converted as a detention center The parade of names continues, but now they are the biographical entries of personnel from Sobibor or Treblinka, excerpts from their trials, and a note of what happened to them after the war in most cases, nothing.Haya becomes a mathematics teacher, retires, and waits She still amasses information, but the witnesses in the trials she now sees in her mind are mostly ghosts The poets Elliot and Pound haveto say to her than the voices of living people But her story is still about names Somewhere in Germany, in the small town of Bad Arolsen to be precise, there are millions of them, archived documents that might reunite her with her son And so the focus passes to the next generation, people who wake up one day to discover that they are the children of mass murderers.With the one exception of its central character, this is a book of facts But facts marshaled with such variety of technique, such ingenuity, such anger, and such compassion that the book makes compelling reading from its beautiful start to an ending that, with so much purged away, has its own very different kind of beauty A masterpiece. Assembly required.Da a Drndi says she spent two years researching this book Much of that time seems to have been spent online, downloading documents from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum s collection and other Holocaust related sites Witness testimonies, lists of Jews deported from Italy or killed in the countries occupied by Italy 43 pages of names , photocopied photographs inserted, W G Sebald style, into the text, transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials, capsule bios of prominent Nazis.Collecting all this stuff took time, but the hard work of extracting meaning from it is left to the reader Maybe Drndi was overwhelmed by the task she set for herself, but I d have liked it if she d spent another year at the very least reflecting on her material, distilling it as Sebald does I see this as the responsibility of an author who takes on a topic like the Shoah, to help readers navigate those dangerous shoals The line between Holocaust literature and Holocaust porn is easily crossed.What s the difference I m going to let Imre Kertez, the author of Fatelessness which I reviewed here a few weeks ago answer that one I am somebody who survived all of it, somebody who saw the Gorgon s head and still retained enough strength to finish a work that reaches out to people in a language that is humane The purpose of literature is for people to become educated, to be entertained, so we can t ask them to deal with such gruesome visions I created a work representing the Holocaust as such, but without this being an ugly literature of horrors.Perhaps I m being impertinent, but I feel that my work has a rare quality I tried to depict the human face of this history, I wanted to write a book that people would actually want to read. Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy situated towards the end of the narrow strip of Italian territory lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia This book by Dasa Drndic, had me google reading about the ancient history, the Middle Ages, the early modern days, 19th century, 20th century,.WWI, annexation to Italy and the Fascist area, WWII and the aftermath, and the Zone A of the Free Territory of Trieste in 1947 54 Any reader who loves storytelling will be enchanted at the start of this novel Haya Tedeschi, was born in 1923, in Gorizia.a time when the town and the whole region became officially part of Italy Haya, reflects back on her Catholicized Jewish family s experiences She s sitting in a rocking chair surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings Haya was waiting to be reunited with her son after sixty two years, fathered by an SS officer and stolen from her by the Germans authorities part of Heinrich Himmler s clandestine Lebensborn project founded in 1935 outlaws of intermarriage with Jews and others who were considered inferior Children who were born by an interracial couple were believed to grow up to lead a Nazi Aryan nation I got in touch with the Red Cross I hoped The Red Cross would help me find my grandparents names I might have relatives I might have nephews My mother had six brothers My grandmother was a gypsy from Hungary and my grandfather was from Yugoslavia I believe I have hundreds of brothers and sisters Who knows how many women he slept with, and man who got my mother pregnant Mother never told me my grandmothers name I am German property, because I was made in Germany at the behest of Heinrich Himmler I was born in Germany, but when the war ended they forced Mary Bozic to take me with her, because they wanted to forget I existed They did not want to see me They wanted to forget that I had ever lived, but I m not giving up Germany owes me an apology It owes me compensation Me and my mother Mary Bozic I must find out who my family are and where my grandfather and grandmother are buried Thank you for hearing me out In the middle of this book there are 44 pages of about 9,000 names of Jews tiny print who were deported from Italy, or killed in Italy or in the countries Italy occupied between 1943 and 1945 BEHIND EVERY NAME THERE IS A STORY It s powerful to see all these names each in print It kinda does something to you THIS is TERRIFIC historical novel The reader gets a taste of the charming city a cosmopolitan melting pot where at the beginning of the 20th century it was bustling with artist s and philosophers such as James Joyce and Sigmund Freud Music, fashion, cuisine, politics, fishing, laughing, and the grand love of every day people.Dasa Drndic opened my eyes and gave me an experience of Trieste past and present where I had none The last chapters especially got to me.they would anyone Special thanks to Violet for recommending I read this I bought the hard copy last year Sorry I took so long to read it..and forgive me again for going past my 3 sentence goal Still need to try harder or readaverage books. Postupak je isti kao kod Zebalda, ali je su tina ispisanog kompleksnija i sama pri a mnogo surovija, eksplicitnija, samim tim efektnija.I da, bila bi odli na lektira.
DASA DRNDIC was a distinguished Croatian novelist, playwright, and literary critic She spent some years teaching in Canada and gained an MA in Theatre and Communications as part of the Fulbright Program She was an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Rijeka.
- 432 pages
- Daša Drndić
- 02 February 2019 Daša Drndić