Saturday, September 05, 2009

After the War

by Carol Matas

The problem recounting the saga of history is the question of where to end the story. History, of course, doesn't end... or at least it hasn't ended yet. Even if you bring the tale to the present day, all you need to do is wait until tomorrow, then go to the newspaper and find out what happens next. Of course, to be practical, you need to pick a stopping point--a place where events have reached a climax and one of the issues of history, at least, have been resolved. So it is with that bit of history we call World War II. To hear the tale of the war, you'll hear of the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, the expansion of German power, the oppression then slaughter of the Jews and others, the opposition of first France and Britain, then the Soviets and Americans. You'll hear of the battles, the strategies, the victories, the losses, the surrender and the liberation. And then they all lived happily ever after.... not. After the War is a tale set, naturally, after World War II. It's the story of a Jewish girl, Ruth, who has been liberated from Buchenwald. She returns to her home in Poland only to find that it's no longer her home. Her family is gone, her former residence is occupied by her uncle's maid, who answers the door wearing Ruth's mother's dress. She finds shelter with some fellow refugees, but finds that the shelter is tenuous at best. There are too many goyim who are only too ready to continue Hitler's agenda of lies and murder. Some of the Jews hold onto the hope of emigrating to Palestine, of founding a Jewish homeland where they can live, thrive and protect themselves. But the British have cut off all immigration there. How could anyone possibly manage to make the journey and get in? Ah, therein lies the tale. It's a well written one, with a depth of character and interesting plot. I found myself a bit torn reading it, sympathizing with the Ruth and her comrades, but also knowing the rest of the story, that an Israeli homeland would not guarantee perfect peace or justice.

You really should check it out.
LibraryThing link


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