Edgar Hilsenrath tells of his life:
“German was not the language of the Nazis. It was my language.”
Recorded on two CDs
Duration: 134:51 Min.
Booklet: 28 pages
Recommended price: € 19.50
Edgar Hilsenrath, born in Leipzig in 1926, was the son of a fur trader. In 1938 his mother fled with him and his brother to Bucovina, Romania. At 14, he decided to become a writer. In 1941, the family was deported to the ghetto of Moghilev / Podolsk, today in the Ukraine. He immigrated to Palestine in 1945 and worked there as a common labourer. He wanted to write a novel about his survival in the ghetto but failed in his attempt to give it a proper shape. In 1947, he rejoined his family in France where his father had survived the war and, thanks to him, completed an apprenticeship as a furrier. His further attempts as a writer also ended in failure.
In 1951 Edgar Hilsenrath emigrated to the USA, making a living there by casual work, and continued writing his book, “Night”, published in Germany in 1964. However, fearing to arouse anti-Semitic reactions, the publisher withdrew it. It appeared in the USA in 1966, as did Hilsenrath’s second book, “The Nazi and the Barber”, written in a grotesque style and describing mass destruction from the point of view of a perpetrator. It was harshly criticized; critics argued that the Holocaust cannot be handled as a grotesquerie. In 1971, Edgar Hilsenrath returned to Germany to live and write in German-speaking surroundings.