Tuesday, 20 March 2018

A Crime in the Family

Finished March 6
A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany, translated by Anthea Bell

Even though he was born and grew up in Switzerland, Sacha's parent's, who escaped from Hungary, never really adopted Swiss ways of life, and yearned for their homeland. Once the wall came down and Eastern Europe became more accessible, his parents, although separated, both returned to Hungary. Sacha works as a journalist, and he began to hear a story about his great aunt's actions during the war. It is a story that horrifies, and Sacha finally begins to investigate the story as a tool to discover more about his own history.
When his mother died, he was given all her papers, but he hadn't looked at them until now. Shortly before she died, she had started to write down some of her memories of the war years, and he is drawn to an incident that seems to reappear often. The incident is of an encounter between her father and a local Jewish couple. This leads Sacha to try to find out more about this incident, and what really happened and he looks for people connected to it.
One of the children of the couple is still alive in South America, and he first makes a connection with one of her daughters, and finally with her in person.
The knowledge of this history is one that captivated Sacha for a long time, and led him to many insights. I found his story very interesting both on an historical and a personal level.

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