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Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz (1915–1942)

Författare till The Passenger

7 verk 484 medlemmar 22 recensioner

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Inkluderar namnet: John Grane

Foto taget av: Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz in the early 1930s

Verk av Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz

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It's very difficult to review this book because of what it is about and when it was written. It has both a fascination because the reader has knowledge of what happened next and some of the lines are too close to the truth for comfort. But I also got a little bored especially towards the end as the main character just gets on one train after another. The section about wanting an affair with the woman he meets is also just bizarre. Running for his life but time to think about that - Huh!
But it also makes you think - about how you would react in such a terrible situation and whether you would behave better or worse.… (mer)
infjsarah | 19 andra recensioner | Feb 12, 2024 |
Gripping, real-life based narrative of a Berlin Jew thrown into confusion by the sudden proscription of Jews under Nazism. The main character, Otto Silbermann, finds he has nowhere to go. His apartment has been ransacked by Nazi police, he can't register in any hotel with his obviously Jewish name, he can't stay safely with anyone he knows, and it's too late to leave the country since all neighboring countries have shut their borders to Jews without visas. Reading this book is living through the experience of suddenly losing all legal and human rights. The author, who wrote only one other novel, died at age twenty-five when a transport ship he was on was sunk by a German U-boat. This novel is his witness and testament.… (mer)
Cr00 | 19 andra recensioner | Apr 1, 2023 |
A while back I had read On the End of the World, a Pushkin Press collection of essays penned by Joseph Roth between the First and Second World War. What had struck me then was the fact that Roth, a down-and-out author trying to survive in a Paris hotel, could easily discern the dangers of the Nazi ideology, even while major world powers were trying to appease Hitler and ignore what was happening “on the ground”. Those essays were a stern warning that, contrary to what is sometimes stated, ordinary people could and should have realised the inhumanity of the regime but found it convenient to turn a blind eye as long as they were not directly affected. How could this happen, one might fairly ask? How could the rest of society have tolerated the regime’s systematic abuse of Jews and other minorities?

The Passenger, a novel by Ulrich A. Boschwitz, confronts precisely that question through the fictional story of a Jew on the run. Boschwitz originally wrote the book in 1938, when he was just twenty-three, as a reaction to the events of Kristallnacht. He had it published in English translation (as The Traveller) under the pseudonym John Grane. Boschwitz himself was the son of a Jewish businessman and he emigrated to Sweden with his mother in 1935 after receiving the draft order from the Wehrmacht. This was followed by stays in Norway, Luxembourg (where he was expelled by the police), and Belgium, before the family settled in England in 1939. Ulrich’s nomadic existence didn’t stop here. Despite having escaped the Nazis, he was branded an “enemy alien” by the UK Government, and interned in a camp on the Isle of Man. He was later deported to Australia. Boschwitz was finally allowed back to England in 1942, but tragically, he perished, along with 361 of his fellow travellers, when the ship he was on was torpedoed in the Atlantic.

In his last letter before the fateful voyage, Boschwitz had informed his mother that he was working on a new version of his novel and instructed her to have an experienced author implement revisions should he never make it home. To a personal tragedy was added a literary one, since the first 109 pages of his reworked version, to which Boschwitz made specific reference in his letter, have never come to light.

The Traveller was forgotten for several decades, until it was republished in its original language in 2018, under the title Der Reisende. The new edition was based on Boaschwtiz’s original German typescript, discovered in a Frankfurt archive, and interpolated editorial additions and reworkings reflecting what is known of the author’s intentions. The Passenger is an English translation of this revised version, in a translation by Philip Boehm. The Pushkin Press edition features a preface by André Aciman, and an afterword by Peter Graf.
The premise of the novel is easily summed up. It is 1938, the eve of the Second World War, and Jews in Berlin are being rounded up. Otto Silbermann is a respected German-Jewish businessman who fought for his country in the Great War and yet he is forced to escape out of the back of his own home, hoping that his wife, who is Aryan, can survive on her own. His business partners take the opportunity to fleece him, and he is turned away from his usual haunts. Nothing remains for him but to escape by embarking on train journeys criss-crossing the Reich. His “Aryan” looks allow him to lay low and observe the people around him. His almost surreal odyssey brings him face to face with a Germany that keeps going on its daily business, despite the unfolding terror and atrocities of the regime.

The Passenger has the feel of a thriller but ultimately turns into an existential, Kafkaesque exploration of how perfectly ordinary people can condone state-backed crimes. It is often breathless, feverish and exciting but this is no “entertainment”. On the contrary, The Passenger is a sobering and sometimes harrowing read, with a particularly devastating ending. It is also a timely eye-opener.
… (mer)
JosephCamilleri | 19 andra recensioner | Feb 21, 2023 |
booksinbed | 19 andra recensioner | Jan 21, 2023 |



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Associerade författare

Peter Graf Afterword, Editor
Philip Boehm Translator
Riki Blanco Cover artist
Daniel Mirsky Translator



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