This is a blog about my reads as well as everything related to them.
My taste is for good quality literature - old and new. Some of it I review here or on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany.
The Austrian writer Erich Hackl is famed for his literary adaptations of true stories reminding of Latin-American testimonial literature. In 2002 he brought out The Wedding in Auschwitz which is based on a real event, too, namely the wedding of Margarita “Marga” Ferrer Rey and Rudolf “Rudi” Friemel at the registry of Auschwitz on 18 March 1944 at 11 a.m. It’s not the kind of book that Europeans like me are used to from childhood. Although it tells the true life story of the two protagonists from birth to death, it can’t even be called a biographical novel with full right. It’s much rather the testimony of a dozen of people who have in one way or another been linked to or part of the lives of the Austrian fighter against General Franco in the Spanish Civil War and the young Spanish antifascist who fell in love with him and had to flee from her country when Franco’s troupes marched into Barcelona.
In The Wedding in Auschwitz Erich Hackl worked up the material of his interviews in the same way as a film director might have done for a documentary. The language used is simple and matter-of-fact as suits the topic. The narrators are alternating all the time. Each one of the witnesses is allowed to tell her/his part of the story with her/his own voice and from her/his own point of view. Most of them remain nameless throughout the story of Marga and Rudi, but their identity uses to be revealed through what they say about their relations to the protagonists. This narrating technique necessarily makes it difficult to grasp at once who is currently speaking. Only in the author’s acknowledgements at the end of the book the narrators are given their names.
The Wedding in Auschwitz is a good read for everybody interested in life under the Nazi regime and in the concentration camps.