Trieste: the True Story


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In search for revenge, he comes across the son of the former SS official responsible of the crime. As the Yugoslavia brole up the Slovenian state revoked the citizenship of nearly 26, people, mostly of non-Slovene or mixed ethnicity. The trauma ot the war affects the mother, the daughter and the granddaughter.

Dombrovszky, M. Szymkow, E. Three years later, in , fat Oberhausen dies of a heart attack. After Treblinka closed, Barry was taken in by a Nazi physician and in the doctor sent Barry to his wife in northern Germany. Several years later they put Barry down, because he was old and feeble. It is known, writes Morelli, that at the time of the war many children found shelter in Catholic monasteries, in boarding schools and in schools, but not at the behest of the Pope, writes Morelli.

It is well known that after the war the Jews who survived had serious difficulties locating their children, retrieving their children from Catholic institutions, writes Morelli, but until now it was only possible to surmise that the Church was systematically stealing Jewish children in order to indulge Jesus. For sixty years the Church has been trying to prove the innocence of Pope Pius XII and many of his bishops and priests.

If Switzerland, so-called neutral Switzerland, has mustered the strength to set up the edgier Commission, the I. And not only that, writes Morelli. We are hopeful it has become clear by now, writes Morelli, that the Church should slow things down a bit as far as the panicked, nearly hysterical race to beautify, canonize, whatever, Pius XII, who, ah, now this is something that is widely known, writes Morelli, was at the head of a Church which was openly championing anti-Semitism at a time when the Nazis and Fascists were persecuting and murdering Jews on a grand scale.

He, Pius XII, led a Church in which many German priests abused church birth registers in order to help the Nazis determine who should be first to wear a yellow star - and then be killed, and some German priests kept right on doing this officially for an entire decade after the Holocaust ended, in order to convince those Jews once and for all that they were guilty of murdering Christ. Abe Foxman tells me, continues Morelli, and Foxman is director of the Anti-Defamation League, writes Morelli, that they placed him, Foxman, with a Polish family and his nanny had him secretly baptized, and later there were terrible problems, all sorts of complications, before he was returned to his parents.

I believe that today there are tens of thousands of Jewish children in the world who were saved and then baptized, Abraham Foxman tells me, writes Alfonso Morelli, children who do not know to this day of their origins, nor will they ever learn of them, says Foxman, writes Morelli. View all 13 comments. For sixty-two years she has been waiting. She sits rocks by a tall window in a room on the third floor of an Austro Hungarian building in the old Gloriza.

"trieste!"

The rocking chair is old and, as she rocks, it whimpers. This is the 4th of For sixty-two years she has been waiting. Oh, he is handsome as a doll. The German already has the polish nickname Lalka, but at this point, when she first sees the dashing German, Haya knows nothing of that, the dashing german tells her later, I am no Lalka, you are my Lalka.

The real-life Franz did spend time in the area of Trieste and Gorizia after the Treblinka camp was dismantled although is not known to have fathered a child with a local. In the novel, Franz abandons his pregnant, Jewish, lover, but when she gives birth her child is snatched. G , translated into English as E. May 31, Roger Brunyate rated it it was amazing Shelves: holocaust , history.

These are the first and last of a list of around 9, Jews from Italy or Italian-occupied countries killed between and Forty-four pages printed in four columns of small type, they stand like a granite wall separating the first half of this book from the second. Although visually the most unusual feature in this totally extraordinary Holocaust novel, it is not the only one: there are court transcripts, poems, entries from a biographical dictionary, fragments in many languages, and even grainy photographs in the manner of W.

And names, names, names. The protagonist, though based on fact, is fictional. Haya Tesdeschi, an old woman of 83, sits in her room in Gorizia, on the border between Italy, Austria, and Croatia, and waits to meet her son, stolen from her by the Germans as a baby, 62 years before, in But the photos in the basket at her feet go back even farther, to when her parents had not yet met and Gorizia was an international spa. As she does throughout the book, Drndic paints the picture in Homeric fashion, by conjuring up names: Ah, all the actresses, duchesses, dancers; all the poets, journalists, singers and marquises whom He gets to know and love long after his first forays to local brothels at sixteen when He pawned His grandfather's watch ; ah, Teodolinde and Clemenze, and Giselda Zucconi, and Olga Ossani; Maria Luisa Casati Stampa, amasser of exotic animals and bizarre furniture; oh, Ida Rubinstein, Isadora Duncan, the singer Olga Levi Brunner, and after her, the pianist Luisa Baccara, then the wealthy American painter Romaine Goddard Brooks, who later comes out as a lesbian; then, oh Lord, celebrated Eleanora Duse… It goes on, the list of names, famous and forgotten, beginning as an unstoppable lyrical stream, but changing eventually to a meticulous accounting of atrocity.

Haya is born, grows up, meets a charming young German soldier nicknamed "The Doll," bears his child. Meanwhile trains pass through Gorizia, trains whose schedules are notated in numbing detail. A nearby rice factory is converted as a detention center. The parade of names continues, but now they are the biographical entries of personnel from Sobibor or Treblinka, excerpts from their trials, and a note of what happened to them after the war in most cases, nothing.

Haya becomes a mathematics teacher, retires, and waits. She still amasses information, but the witnesses in the trials she now sees in her mind are mostly ghosts. The poets Elliot and Pound have more to say to her than the voices of living people. But her story is still about names. Somewhere in Germany, in the small town of Bad Arolsen to be precise, there are millions of them, archived documents that might reunite her with her son.

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And so the focus passes to the next generation, people who wake up one day to discover that they are the children of mass murderers. With the one exception of its central character, this is a book of facts.


  • Retribution?
  • Hotels in Trieste City Centre;
  • Apples.

But facts marshaled with such variety of technique, such ingenuity, such anger, and such compassion that the book makes compelling reading from its beautiful start to an ending that, with so much purged away, has its own very different kind of beauty. A masterpiece. View 2 comments. Assembly required. Much of that time seems to have been spent online, downloading documents from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's collection and other Holocaust related sites. Witness testimonies, lists of Jews deported from Italy or killed in the countries occupied by Italy 43 pages of names!

Sebald-style, into the text, transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials, capsule bios of promin Assembly required. Sebald-style, into the text, transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials, capsule bios of prominent Nazis. Collecting all this stuff took time, but the hard work of extracting meaning from it is left to the reader. I see this as the responsibility of an author who takes on a topic like the Shoah, to help readers navigate those dangerous shoals. The line between Holocaust literature and Holocaust porn is easily crossed.

What's the difference? I created a work representing the Holocaust as such, but without this being an ugly literature of horrors. She isn't certain whose memories they are. History wants to remain open. So that it can be filled in and multiplied. I have tended to regard history suspiciously, it's tendency to authoritarianism, the final word of those who wrote or revised it.

History is made by popular opinion. Those who know what is happening do not speak. Those who don't know ask no questions. Whoever asks g She isn't certain whose memories they are. Whoever asks gets no answers. Then, as now. Youth has the illusion of hope, age-the illusion of recollection. Details get lost to history. Trieste, the novel is crammed with small details, overlooked,forgotten, erased; and details that try to disguise themselves as insignificant.

So this book is also history, off the record no longer. I will repeat myself The story of Hannah Tedeski and the final disclosure enfolded in the text remains with the reader long after we put the book down. My recollections are not the past. My memories are my present. Mar 02, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: c21st , holocaust , croatia. It includes family trees; archival records; newspaper clippings; photographs and testimony from various war crimes tribunals.

I was shocked to find there the surnames of Italian families I know, and now I wonder whether their extended families were among the victims. There are also brief biographies of the SS — their backgrounds, their crimes, their court proceedings, and all too often, their contented post-war lives amid sympathisers and the world turning a blind eye.

Eliot and other authors and poets perhaps more familiar to European readers. It is not easy to read, not just because of the subject matter, not just because not everything is translated into English, but also because of the accumulation of detail and the way fragments leak into the narrative. It is the story of an old woman, Haya Tedeschi, whose infant, was stolen from his pram in late In July having spent a determined lifetime trying to find him, she waits to be reunited with this child.

View all 3 comments. Mar 20, Denni rated it it was amazing.

Highlights

More affected by this book than virtually any other. It is an example of why literature matters. Both the author and translator should have won prizes. I learnt much that I didn't know about what was done in Europe in the s and s, and that, of course, is impor More affected by this book than virtually any other. I learnt much that I didn't know about what was done in Europe in the s and s, and that, of course, is important, but the additional impact of this book is the way it turns the mirror back to reflect us, here and now, and to make us question our ability now to fail to know how our world works now.

I struggled with it at first as it's slow to start and very dense, concentrated, but thank goodness I persisted. I'd found this book on the library shelves by chance when I was early for a work meeting. I read the extract on the back cover and this caught my attention because it's so beautifully written. I'm so glad I found it. I'm so glad there are still libraries. I will now buy my own copy because this is a special and important book, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Dec 16, Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing.

At the time, Trieste was part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. I was fascinated by "Zeno's Conscience", not least because of the praise and discussion it received in philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah's recent book, "The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity". Appiah sees the Trieste of Svevo's day as well as his book and the author himself as illustrating a spirit of cosmopolitanism and shared human identity that he finds valuable.

Dasa Drndic's book offers a different picture than does Svevo or Appiah. Her novel is set during the years of the Holocaust although it ranges in time both before and after. The book describes the Holocaust in Italy in detail while also covering much of the enormity of the evil. The primary character of the book is an elderly woman, Hasa Tedeschi, who lives in a town north of Trieste.

The book opens in as Hasa, a retired mathematics teacher, waits for her long-lost son and gathers both her memories and factual information on the Holocaust. Some of the details of Hasa's personal story are fiction but the Holocaust is all-too-real. The novel offers chillingly detailed portrayals of the camps, their leaders, and the unimaginable brutality of the era. The depiction of the people and places involved has a cumulative, shocking impact. A test of whether a book works for me is the extent to which it makes me want to move beyond the covers of the book and learn more.

Drndic's book made me want to revisit and relearn what I knew about the Holocaust. The book's writing is unusual in its long, heavily descriptive stream of consciousness sentences and paragraphs. The style makes for slow reading but it is fits the subject and the characters in capturing dizzying horror and a sense of disorientation brought on by events and memory.

The book is highly allusive with many quotations from and references to T. Much of the book is drawn from memoirs of Holocaust survivors and participants. Of many literary parallels to this book, I thought of Jena Blum's novel "Those Who Save Us" which, as does "Trieste" involves a relationship between a Jewish woman and a high-ranking S.

The immediacy and sharpness of this book will bring the Holocaust home to readers. The book is written from the perspective of its many characters and of the many victims of the Holocaust, survivors, and descendants. In places, there is a strong sense of unrequited vengeance and continued anger in the characters. The reader comes to understand these feelings. Some perspective between the points of view of the reader and the characters is suggested as most readers would understand the characters' feelings but not want to carry around such feelings of bitterness and anger in their own lives.

It is valuable to read this book and also valuable to think about the difference between a well-done novel, such as this book, and a history. The tone and perspective of a history would be different from that of a novel even for a subject as horrific as the Holocaust. Robin Friedman Dec 20, Kate Lee rated it it was amazing. I am a huge WWII geek. I've read a lot of war novels before, but this one blew everything else out of the water.

It is truly a war novel like no other. I lied This book borders on the line between non-fiction and fiction so often that I can't even tell which parts are fiction or non-fiction. There are SO many facts imbedded into the text, which is why a lot of readers grew tired of the book after a while. It was overwhelming, but I decided to stick with it, especially because the facts were essential in creating a large picture of how terrible and huge the impacts of Nazi Germany were and are on the world.

The general theme of the story, and a quote that is repeated multiple times, is "Behind every name, there is a story. The horror and injustice and anger is enough to make your head spin, but that is what is necessary. Haya is referred to as a "bystander" of sorts, a citizen who turned her face away from all the terrible things happening to her friends around her. She, like so many others, is silent and doesn't speak up against the Nazi regime. Later, however, through her search for her missing son, it is shown that she is a victim as well; her son was stolen from her by the Catholic church to be used to purify the German race.

This is a story that is trying to bring truth to a historical event some people are trying to forget. It shows the collaboration of the Church and the government in prosecuting the Jewish, it shows the corruption and secrecy that stills goes on TO THIS DAY regarding documents, it shows, most importantly, how everyone is a victim when we forget, when we say: "It was too terrible, I don't want to hear about it. It wasn't graphic or extremely disturbing, but it was just so packed with facts and truth that it was unsettling in that respect. The Downs: I do think it is not an easily approachable novel form.

I found myself wishing the plot would speed up, or being confused because I was skipping between German facts and Haya's story. I wish it was a little more approachable so its impact could reach more readers Inside this book there is a beautiful novel. Inside this book there's also way too much historical trivia.

I say trivia not to denigrate the war criminals and horrors it depicts, but because these characters and their deeds are recounted in snippets and lists, presented as if they were trivia. You will occasionally lose several pages to some particular act of brutality you know is historical fact and it will disallow Inside this book there is a beautiful novel.

You will occasionally lose several pages to some particular act of brutality you know is historical fact and it will disallow your concentration for some time--horrors are horrors and the effect us this way, therefore a dramatic text should probably use them sparingly both to keep the reader engaged and so as not to deaden us to horror through repetition. The narrative does come together, explain itself and the amassing of related war trivia, in the end, on its own terms, as a pastiche of two characters' powerless to either renege or capture their own histories search though documents and information to come to some sort of terms with their place in history Still, as I read I was often furious at the book for the incessant trivia and the battering horrors when they preempted, deferred, or weakened the slightly more traditional narrative.

I'm not a technique hater either. I love experimental and postmodern fiction. But frequently Trieste abused technique rather than used it to scale new heights. This is a beautiful novel with some deep flaws in its experimental form, I think. Maybe I'm wrong. I actually want to be wrong, for the novel's sake. I'll be writing about it for my newspaper and I'll publish the essay here after we go to print.

Case in point, the farthest Northeastern corner of Italy, the Friuli region and its largest city, Trieste. Like most of the regions of the country now known as Italy, the Friuli was a Roman province, a medieval semi-democratic duchy, and then by turns annexed by succeeding and overlapping early modern empires: the Austrian, the Kingdom of Hungry, the Venetian Republic, and finally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Since , its been a region of the Italian Republic. The people of the region have many mixed cultural identities: Italian, Croatian, Slovenian, Austrian, Catholic, and Jewish. Besides its own local dialect, the languages of all of the above nationalities are spoken in Trieste and environs as well as several overlapping and mixed dialects. Like the novels of W. The artistry of interweaving fact with fiction will excite many readers.

I loved the story so much I sometimes grew impatient to get out of historical trivia and return to Haya and her drama. Originally a rice husking plant, the Nazis transformed the San Sabba complex into, at first, a detention and transit center for deporting dissidents, partisans, and Jews to Auschwitz. Later, outfitted with a crematorium, San Sabba saw its own share of systematic, state-sponsored killing.

Today the Risiera is an important Holocaust museum. And, anyway, few things I have read have moved me like my own visit the Risiera museum. Flaws aside, Trieste is an important and beautiful novel. I feel we will always need art that reminds us that our constructed identities are far from stable or singular and that the politics surrounding them will always lead to little more than divisive chaos. Each of us is far more than a skin color, a gender, a language group, a dialect, a city, a nationality, an ideology, or a flag.

We also live in the fluidity of time, which will one day become history. Trieste confronts not only the horrors of Irredentism and Nazism and how national identities can torture and exterminate so many of its own citizens for a misguided and absurd sense of purity—as if, within the many crosscurrents of identity there could be any such thing! The novel also emphasizes our responsibility to our descendants. More than anything else Trieste illustrates the danger of constructing national identities and imposing them militarily. We are human first and foremost; most of the rest is posturing.

Second reading: This novel was better the second time through--both clearer and more aesthetically satisfying. Obviously I was a bit annoyed at the percentage of historical info. Therefore much of the information seemed less casual because I understood better the thematic links between some information and the main narrative itself. A lot of that had to do with the female experience of World War II, which makes this novel very interesting.

Since war is "man's work" and villains are most commonly male in novels--certainly more frightening because usually both physically and culturally more powerful than female characters--it's refreshing to read of not only the female victims of the Third Reich, the hardships of the innocent bystanders of WWII, but even some of the German women who participated in the monstrosities of the regime. The final chapter was also much more pointed and satisfying to me the second time through. It seems to me now that a major theme of the novel is the paradox that we humans live mostly through text, history, narratives, and cultural context and yet we feel like free, self-defined actors and want to be judged on our own actions.

Hence the desire to escape history in conflict with the longing to belong, to have a history and a culture behind one. The fact that in the final scene the two protagonists can only communicate by reciting lines from Eliot's "Wasteland" is a fit end to the story of these equally lost characters looking for identities in a mass of historical documents and ephemera. Identity is grounded in culture but is voiced by individuals, art, documentation.

The true story behind the deepest dive in history

Other directors who I love right now are Derek Cianfrance who gets amazing performances. I also recently got to work with a British director named SJ Clarkson. Dying to work with her again. I think the micro budget feature has been positive for me. If you could only watch one movie over and over again for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Not exaggerating. I was totally obsessed. Best advice was being told to stay in NY. Worst advice was being told to give LA more time. Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

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