Displaced Persons A Novel (Paperback)
|Author: Ghita Schwarz|
In May 1945, Pavel Mandl, a Polish Jew recently liberated from a concentration camp, finds himself among similarly displaced persons gathered in the Allied occupation zones of a defeated Germany. Possessing little besides a map, a few tins of food, and a talent for black-market trading, he must scrape together a new life in a chaotic community of refugees, civilians, and soldiers. With fellow refugees Fela, a young widow, and Chaim, a resourceful teenager with impressive smuggling skills, Pavel establishes a makeshift family, as together they face an uncertain future. Eventually the trio immigrates to the United States, where they grapple with past traumas that arise again in the everyday moments of lives no longer dominated by the need to endure, fight, hide, or escape.
Ghita Schwarz''s "Displaced Persons" is an astonishing novel of grief, anger, and survival that examines the landscape of liberation and reveals the interior despairs and joys of immigrants shaped by war and trauma.
Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust from Poland, Germany and Russia trek across Europe as war refugees, then reunite in New York City years later. Ghita Schwarz's account of the travails and triumphs of these unlikely Jewish confederates in DISPLACED PERSONS enlivens the years such victims spent living with guilt and secrecy before a tempest of media illuminated the atrocity after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through the decades from one monstrous trauma to this collective uncovering of truth, Schwarz's characters mark both the distance and private closeness that follows horror.