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The Dark Room

by Seiffert, Rachel A Frank, Dan

  • ISBN: 9780375421044
  • ISBN10: 0375421041

The Dark Room

by Seiffert, Rachel A Frank, Dan

  • List Price: $24.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish date: 05/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780375421044
  • ISBN10: 0375421041
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Description: "The Dark Room" upends the familiar images and narratives that have been constructed for us by historians and film-makers of 20th century Germany and gives us, in their place, the imagined lives of three individuals whose experiences are evoked with astonishing psychological and emotional acuity -- at once preserving and transforming the truth of history with even more compelling imaginative vision.

Part I tells the story of Helmut -- an only child born in 1920 with a physical deformity that sets him apart from other children, and excludes him from Nazi Youth Groups and makes him ineligible for military service. Helmut finds work as a photographer's assistant and pursues his childhood fascination with trains by chronicling the increased activity -- shipping and transporting that occurs at the Berlin station. He captures by photograph the violent aftermath of Kristallnacht, the coming and goings of soldiers -- young recruits being sent to the front, crippled victims returning home -- and finally, the ravages of the Allied Bombing. This is all chronicled by an observer with an acute eye but who can't comprehend the sense of the events unfolding around him.

Part II, Lore, is the story of a teenaged girl in the days and weeks immediately following Gerrnany's surrender. Germany is in ruins; uncertainty and anxiety is pervasive -- individuals wonder how much they can trust the person next to them; do you conceal your identity, your loyalty. Lore's parents were SS -- her father is being detained by Americans, her mother, in hiding, trying to elude both American and British authorities. She is sent with her four younger siblings across this precarious terrain on a journey to Hamburg wheretheir grandmother lives -- a journey of danger, survival, of eluding authorities, both Allied and German, with no proper forms of identification among others equally suspicious and more predatory.

Part III, Micha, tells the contemporary story of a young man trying to discover his grandfather's wartime activities -- and why the Russians held him prisoner for nine years after the war. Micha's search meets resistance from his family, from his Turkish girlfriend, and finally when he arrives in the Polish village where his grandfather was stationed, from the residents there. The only person who finally reluctantly agrees to help him has his own tainted past of collaboration.

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