SCUM OF THE EARTH by Arthur Koestier
Kirkus Star

SCUM OF THE EARTH

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Don't dismiss this as just another refugee horror story, for even to a sated market, a book as well done as this should hold appeal. Here with Hans Habe'n A Thousand Shall Fall, is one of the most terrible and most moving personal indictments to come from Hitler's continent. It is a less sensational book than the Habe, but more deeply thought out. As France started to crumble, Koestler moved to Paris with the girl he loved. There with apprehension- he awaited the inevitable visit of the police, internment in a concentration camp, which was the lot of the ""scum of the earth"", Jew, anti-fascists, communists. White Bussians, in all 10% of the French population at the time. The French harbored bitter resentment against these exiles, had no sympathy for their rebuttal of Fascism. Koestler was taken to Le Vernet, a concentration camp typical of the French ""ignominy, corruption, lazzez-faire"" -- dirty, cold, diseased, unchecked. He was released after four months, but not supplied with the papers necessary to get out. The fall of France, exodus, and enforced protection against both French and Germans, he joined the Foreign Legion. An appalling picture of life under the ""reign of terror of crooks and nits"" and eventually escape to England, via Africa and Lisbon. One of the most compelling records of the procession of despair, of those exiles who found no refuge save in chains.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1941
Publisher: Macmillan