[Marxism] Escape from the Nazis: Anna Seghers’s Suspenseful Classic

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Thu May 24 19:40:44 MDT 2018

clip - It may be that, in the aftermath of 1945, when the totality of the
horrors of National Socialist rule became known, horrors that no doubt
exceeded even Anna Seghers’s powers of imagination at the time, such a
passage sounds almost too benign. Yet it is precisely these authorial
passages that touched me most deeply on rereading the book. Today, the
gruesome acts of the camp commandant would be presented more graphically;
the details of Heisler’s flirtation at the end would probably be stretched
out; above all, though, a modern author would strike an ironic note,
perhaps a cynical one, since now after two world wars we know what a
hopeless case our species is. But considering that Anna Seghers, in a
moment of extreme existential danger, created, in spite of it all, this
literary credo to humanism, this beacon that inspires us, in an ambiguous,
crepuscular world full of inhuman barbarity, with the courage never to give
up, to retain our humanity no matter what the cost—for that we should and
must be grateful.


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