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July 26, 2011

I just realized that there isn't an English version of Klaus Kordon's novel "Mit dem Rücken zur Wand" (having one's back to the wall) although in Germany it is a very well known book. Some classes deal with it in school and Kordon even received a prize for this work. As you may figure out by reading the following quotes, the plot takes place in the German capital Berlin in the early 30's of the 20th century and it is a criticism of nationalsocialism.

Thus I considered it to be a good idea to translate some especially impressive quotes of this book into English...Here we go:

When the Nazi's decide to celebrate Hitler's nomination as chancellor by making a torchlight procession the main protagonist asks himself "Is it the torchlight that reddens their faces or is it the zeal?" (By the way here I should say that when somebody I know privately read this, she said sarcastically "Or are they ashamed? I wish this was the case, but of course this is very doubtful.")

Furthermore the protagonist makes up his mind about this event and thinks:"Perhaps what happens here is nothing but a sickness - the disease of a whole people."

About the very same evening the author says that there had been a lot of violent conflicts between right - wing and left - wing extremists. One lady mentioned in this book is glad that the police finally interferes, because she just wants calmness as she tells the protagonist's mother. When hearing this the latter thinks "Calmness? Yes! But under the heel of the Nazis?..."

"Maybe faith in human sanity is one of the greatest mistakes that has ever been." (one  of the protagonists after getting informed about how many people were in favor of the right - wing extremist party back then)

Still not too long after Hitler's nomination the narrator says:"Hans' brother Helle believes that now all proper people must unite - no matter which religion or party they are form - to prevent the worst from happening."

"The criminals now play police and many people want that. So hence with the few crazy people who have dreams other than that * and everything will be quiet." (a person persecuted by the nationalsocialist regime)

* Ironically even some people who had Jewish ancestors at first were in favor of Hitler. They weren't real Jews and thus didn't feel being talked to when Hitler spoke about the <jewish race> as subhuman beings. Not even all real Jews saw it coming and thus a lot of them firstly realized when it already was too late.

"No matter whether you are communist or nationalsocialist, you all are troublemakers." ( a man after seeing some SA - men beating up a communist boy )

"You have to incorporate with others. Not with many - which would be too dangerous -, but a small group offers protection." (a mother after her son tells her that he is going to take action against Hitler)

Finally a little dialogue:

The protagonist doesn't think that much about it and says "In this quarter there are Jews being poorer than most Germans."

"Jews are Germans, too."

"Should I perhaps have said Christians instead?" ( thinks )

"Yes!" (the same person who said the comment from the beginning of this blog)

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