ANTON THE DOVE FANCIER: And Other Tales of the Holocaust by Bernard Gotfryd

ANTON THE DOVE FANCIER: And Other Tales of the Holocaust

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hemingway once said that in the face of atrocity abstract words are obscene; only concrete words--names, dates, numbers--retain meaning, Gotfryd, a photographer for Newsweek and a holocaust survivor, has rendered his experiences before, during, and after WW II in the stripped-down, lucid prose of a man who has lived by that distinction. On the other hand, Gotfryd's story is as fantastic and varied as any fictionalized adventure story. From the theft of his family's hand-carved, finely crafted table before the war (""Theft of a Table"") to his worshipful, unconsummated love for his contact in the Polish underground (""Alexandra""); from the unlooked-for protection of a Kapo at Maidanek (""Hans Burger #15252"") to the heartrending loss of his mother during a deportation (""On Guilt""); from the terrifying hospitality of an SS man's family after his liberation (""An Encounter in Linz"") to the painful, miraculous reunions with his brother and sister (""Reunions""), Gotfryd allows the facts to speak for themselves. Admitting the impossible nature of his task, he defines the edge of the abyss separating survivors from the rest of humanity. No overt artistry protects us from the relentless reality of events, and yet these tales have an austere beauty. Gotfryd manages, through telling details, to remind us that heroes and villains, victims and victimizers, were, after all, flawed, imperfect human beings. Gotfryd's unique point of view and unashamed passion for the truth of unadorned facts are a tribute to his integrity. A worthy contribution to the literature of witness.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1990
ISBN: 0801863104
Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket Books