Gerhard Durlacher - Stripes in the Sky
This book concerns all of us, even if we belong to a generation born long after Auschwitz, where the young Gerhard Durlacher was the only member of his family to survive.
Stripes in the Sky recounts many moments of anguish, none more moving than when he hears that his mother is being transported and Gerhard, then fifteen years old, creeps near to the women’s barracks. They exchange a last look – ‘my gaze cries out to her and her heart hears me.’ They never see each other again.
Forty years on, Durlacher raises a number of disturbing questions in Stripes in the Sky. Why did the West do nothing to stop the genocide, although they had definite knowledge of it by the end of 1942? Why did allied bombers overfly Auschwitz, leaving behind only the fading vapor trails to which the title refers? Why was it that the proportion of the Jewish population deported from the Netherlands was so much higher than from any other country in Western Europe?
Durlacher’s work combines autobiographical elements and contemplative essays of great literary quality, even though the author did not set out to write literature.
Gerhard Durlacher (1928-1996) was born in Germany. In 1937 he fled to The Netherlands with his family to escape Nazi anti-Semitism. In his work Durlacher tries to shake off his traumatic war experiences. His first book Stripes in the Sky made a major impact. In addition to describing his ghastly concentration camp experience, he reminisces about his childhood in Germany in Drowning. Growing up in the Third Reich (1987). His other books are Quarantine (1993) and The Search (1991).
- ‘More than an account of the horrors he suffered. It is a chronicle of his personal mission to discover why the fate of European Jews was for so long ignored […] moving and angry.’ The Sunday Times
- ‘The author empties a bitter heart in this worthy and quietly moving addition to eyewitness Holocaust testimony.’ – Publishers Weekly