THE DEVIL IN VIENNA by Doris Orgel

THE DEVIL IN VIENNA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Through the ""secret journal"" of a 13-year-old Jewish girl and letters from her Aryan best friend who has moved to Munich, Orgel manages a readable, revealing glimpse of the crucial months between November 1937 and March 1938 which marked the end of a free Austria and the arrival of The Devil (the one with a brush mustache) in Vienna. In rapid succession, Inge is expelled from her gymnasium, Vati's business is taken over by the Nazis, Muti gets fired from her publishing job, beloved Opa (Grandpa) Oscar emigrates to America, and a once-trusted family servant tries to blackmail the Dornenwalds (which precipitates their sudden and lucky exodus to Yugoslavia). Of all the traumas, however, the hardest for Inge is her separation from Lieselotte whose Papa is now a bigwig in the SA and who is not only forced to joing the ""Jungmadel"" but also forbidden to ""befriend a Jewess."" The business about the star-crossed friends gets a bit thick at times what with code phone calls and secret rendezvous upon Lieselotte's return to Vienna. And Orgel's attention to this dual Jewish-Gentile perspective is sometimes at the expense of the action: too often key scenes are not seen but reported (even Inge's sneak visit to Lieselotte's priest-uncle is barely mentioned although it ultimately provides the avenue for the Dornenwalds' escape). Still, there is an affecting sense of authenticity to this diary, and Orgel's likable heroine, forced to do a lot of growing up fast, understands and relates events with disarming astuteness.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Dial