Books: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Veracity again!

This article in TNR (The New Republic is worth reading but this Snopes' update and review about Herman Rosenblat's book sheds more light on the context, content and outcome of the books withdrawal from the market.

I will not pretend to be a holocaust expert, but a reader of holocaust material, both fictional and non-fictional. I remember hearing this story, perhaps on a news channel, tucking it inside a memory zone for later perusal, and wondering at its factual nature.

One of several issues with the facts I had and have is the dates. In 1945, months before the end of the War, rather than releasing inmates in concentration camps, more putative practices were put into play. It seems unlikely that an inmate, even an eleven (11) year old, would have taken the chance of exposure at a barbed wire fence to catch an apple. It is more difficult to believe that a young girl of eight (8) would be free to roam around a village near Buchenwald to offer up said apple.

First hand accounts of the war from those I know who survived all spoke of hiding themselves even at the expense of death from starvation. One former colleague in the Netherlands, several years older than me, said he never stepped out of the door of his house from the moment the Germans invaded until days after liberation. His father was the sole physician in the community. His mother Jewish. For reasons only fortuna can imagine, the Nazis spared their lives.

The other Jewish acquaintances and friends I have who survived, under 10 years old, were all hidden by strangers, members of the Underground or neighbours, and rarely if ever saw the light of day.

Only one friend, Mari, talked of playing and she was hidden in a manor house on the property of the Forestry Department in Baarn, a government facility, but managed by a member of the Verlossen (rescuers).

If this story has truth in it, it is indeed a great love story. If the story is untrue, it is undoubtedly a story Mr. Rosenblat had some reason to imagine.

One lesson I learned living in post-War Amsterdam with people who lived the nightmare, Jewish, non-Jewish, political, non-political, is that it is wiser not to judge or be judged!

PS - The NYT Book Reviews write up here.

No comments:

Post a Comment