Kahn & Engelmann: A Novel by Hans Eichner

By Hans Eichner

A severe and advertisement good fortune in German, ''Kahn & Engelmann'' tells the tale of a Jewish family members from rural Hungary, their immigration to Vienna within the nice days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, their loves, enterprise ventures and failings, and their eventual tragic destruction. Narrated by way of Peter Engelmann, who needs purely to overlook his previous, this hugely unique novel recreates a vanished Vienna with salty humor and humanity. In a voice that's beautiful with out being sentimental, Peter describes his get away from the Nazis via snowy woods, his makes an attempt to begin a brand new lifestyles in England and Canada, and his choice to immigrate to Israel. Written by way of an eminent pupil, himself a survivor of Nazism, ''Kahn & Engelmann'' is either an interesting novel and an important paintings of Holocaust literature.

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In Hungary, for example, at the beginning of the nineteenth century the Jews were still forbidden to own property outside of the Judengasse, the Jewish street, to acquire the master craftsman’s diploma and to stay in the Hungarian mountain cities. ”) But one thing was never forbidden them: to travel, in fact, in the course of their history travelling just about became the compulsory national sport: from Egypt to Canaan, from Canaan to Babylon and back again to Canaan, to Greece and Italy, over the Alps down the Rhine valley, then from there, when the crusaders practised killing people there as a preliminary exercise to freeing the holy grave, to Poland and Galicia, where they brought their Middle High German, from which Yiddish developed.

That gave them time to plan and make preparations, and as my grandparents discussed what to take with them and what to sell and compiled the bills they had to pay, it turned out that what they had earned for themselves in ten years of hard work was less than nothing. Since the vegetable store didn’t bring in much in the winter, and it was getting more and more difficult for József to compete with the mass-produced shoes pouring in from Bohemia, while there were four children to feed, there was barely 34 enough money in the house to pay the rent.

My grandfather had dressed up for the picture. He is wearing a dark suit and a vest with a watch chain hanging from its middle buttonhole, a white shirt with a starched collar and a wide tie. Sidonie is wearing, as always, a simple black dress, this time with a silver locket. Her hairstyle shows that she could now afford a good hairdresser. Both of them look very serious: the time had not yet come when photographers asked their customers to smile. But while my grandfather’s face is a kind and attractive average face, my grandmother’s makes you think – it expresses (and that was not the case with the picture of the seventeen-year-old with which this account began) – it expresses, with its firm chin and with the slightly downturned corners of its mouth, a degree of strength and determination that could intimidate a police officer.

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