Thursday, 3 December 2020

Bystander Guilt

 


So, the girls in Book 5 are bystanders. I’ve just been going through some of the chapters after which their teacher has told them about some of the things that happened:

·         A school friend had to flee to England at about the same time as their school was closed because it would not teach the Nazi curriculum

·         One of their teachers was imprisoned because she had failed to denounce Jewish children in her school.

·         A priest was arrested because he had hidden two Jewish children in his cellar. He was due to be executed but actually died of a heart attack the night before his execution.

·         Another Jewish school friend fled to Holland.  No more has been heard of her. We assume the worst.

In my latest edit I’m looking particularly at dialogue. What did these girls say? How did they say it? As they spoke German I can take a few liberties and include more modern English than I would if I were writing about British girls.  I have to try to replicate what the Germans would have seemed like to them.

Some interesting vocabulary emerges.  Der Giftpilz - the poisonous mushroom -  is mentioned quite a bit.  This was an illustrated story used as propaganda for the BDM. The Jew was seen as a poisonous mushroom that they must be rid of.

Also frequently occurring “We didn’t know.” “We didn’t think.”  They try to make amends:

  • By  researching what happened to the missing school friend
  • Offering holidays to deprived children and particularly to Holocaust survivors
  • Using method acting to create empathy
  • Putting on satirical plays to put the Nazi regime under the microscope
  • Meeting and apologising to the survivor they know
  • Sustaining international relationships.
  • Analysing it in detail.

Will the guilt ever go away? 

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay  

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