Tuesday, July 29, 2014

the last book I ever read (Gottland by Mariusz Szczygiel, excerpt three)

from Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia by Mariusz Szczygiel:

A Czech could either work for the Germans, or work for the Germans.

As soon as he graduated from high school in 1942, eighteen-year-old Josef Škvorecký—later a famous writer—was assigned a job at a munitions factory. He had the choice of an arms factory in Bremen, where there was constant carpet bombing, or a factory making parts for German Messerschmitts in his own peaceful town of Náchod.

He chose the job without air raids.

However, in a world of crime it’s impossible to remain on the outside. Many things explain the attitude of the Czechs, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t affected by what happened. They bore a sense of shared guilt, though they may not have been aware of it.

They may have intuitively taken it out on Baarová and Mandlová—on people who, in their eyes, had communed with the executioner of their own free will.

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