OUT OF THE NIGHT by Michael Horbach


Email this review


Were there such people, the few, who remained human beings in a world of inhumanity?"" The young German novelist who collected these stories asks this question about the German who lived under Hitler. It drove him to spend two years tracing down these accounts of ordinary householders who risked everything to hide and help Jews, cross-checking the recollections with 87 eyewitnesses, and searching background detail from diaries. The memories of the surviving Jews in their own words conjures up the hellish atmosphere of a time when legalized, dehumanized huntpacks were at their heels. Among the dozen stories, the most astonishing are those of the anti-Nazis who hoodwinked the regime out of its prey from within its official machinery--the nearly blind businessman who overstaffed with sick, disabled, or young Jews and the prison warder whose Jews, saboteurs, and would-be Hitler assassins were always, it seemed, escaping. All the stories are affecting, but the standouts include: the elderly farm couple who cared for three-Polish Jewish girls who had incredibly survived a forced march of thousands over the edge of a seacliff; the barber who hid two Jews in his small cellar for nearly two years; the teacher who continued at his profession in dangerous privacy as he was hidden from house to house. Out of the cellars and attics, from behind false walls--a pitifully slender but nevertheless heartening record of defiant decency to set against the horrendous numbing bookkeeping of the concentration camp commandants.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1969
Publisher: Frederick Fell