A Tale of One January by Albert Maltz is a historical-fiction story of two women who escaped from a Nazi death March in January, 1945. Mr. Maltz was a playwright, screenwriter, and author. He was one of the Hollywood Ten jailed to refuse to testify before Congress about the Communist Party.
- 192 pages
- Publisher : Calder Publications
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0714550620
The author was living in Mexico City, as he was blacklisted in the United States. in 1960 he met Dounia Wasserstrom, a French woman and political prisoner, who worked as an SS interpreter in Auschwitz. When the Russian Army was advancing on the camp, the prisoners where being marched to an unknown destination. This is when Mrs. Wasserstrom and her friend made their escape.
Mrs. Wasserstrom, a Ukrainian Jew, testified against the Auschwitz SS men in Frankfurt. Part of her testimony was used in The Investigation, a play by Peter Weiss.
This book was first published in 1967, but only in England, as American publishers wouldn’t agree to publish it.
This is a short book, and I honestly thought it was translated as some of the narrative is clunky. I soon figured out that A Tale of One January by Albert Maltz is written in a way to mimic Eastern European accents.
It was refreshing to read Holocaust literature which isn’t blatantly attempting to squeeze tears out of the reader. It was equally as refreshing to read an actual historical-fiction, as oppose to fiction which takes place in the past.
An interesting aspect of the book is how the things which are taken for granted, are viewed as luxuries after a time spent in hell. An ice bath, for example, is not just a pleasure, but helps the protagonists become human, scraping the filth of the consternation camp off of them.
Small acts of kindness by a local farmer, and other acts by the prisoners themselves, slowly give them their humanity back. There’s a lot to this short book, and that’s not even considering its historical significance.
Lini, a Dutch Jew; and Claire, a blonde French anti-fascist who is working as a translator for the SS in Auschwitz, manage to escape during the Death march from their Nazi captures. The two friends have helped each other survive in the concentration camp.
The two meet four men who help them survive the winter and the retreating German army. The four are Norbert, a German; Jurek, a Pole; Otto, an Austrian, and a Russian POW, Andrey. The men are political prisoners (except Andrey) and are not Jewish.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
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