The Schellberg cycle is a set of stories set in war-torn Europe in the 1940s: all about the Holocaust and life in Germany and England, from the perspective of one group of family and friends.
Monday, 7 November 2011
I’ve finished the Renate thread now. She will appear in just one more scene at the end of the book with Hani. Her story arc has been about her not knowing her identity. Is she English? German? Jewish? Yiddish? Is she accepted? She battles with this lack of identity and finally accepts herself as English. She is less wounded than she thinks she would have been when she finds out that her father has remarried. She is surprised to find that she is almost relieved, though she is glad that he is alive and well. It confirms to her that she should stay in England and become English. In many ways she had it better than many of the Kinder: Both parents survived the war and the Holocaust. She was treated well by her host parents and had some good friends at the school where she was also treated well. However, there is always the guilt in the Kinder. She had the added problem too that was not Jewish and was an outsider again. Although people accepted her generally, the state still saw her as an enemy alien and she was not allowed to go to university.
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