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In the Cellar

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  37 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
On the evening of March 25, Jan Philipp Reemtsma was attacked, beaten, and abducted. For the next 33 days, he lived chained to the wall of a cellar, the prisoner of kidnappers who were not, it turned out, political executioners, but who wanted 20 million dollars in exchange for his life.With unsparing honesty, Reemtsma narrates those days. He describes the endless hours pa ...more
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published February 9th 1999 by Knopf
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Aug 18, 2014 yexxo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein Mann wird entführt und nach Zahlung von unglaublichen 30 Millionen DM nach 33 Tagen wieder freigelassen. Das hört sich nach einem Thema für eine spannende und actionreiche Räuberpistole an, doch 'Im Keller' ist eher ein psychologisches Kammerspiel als ein packender Kriminalroman. Jan Philipp Reemtsma, der im Jahre 1996 entführt wurde, berichtet des Geschehene aus drei Perspektiven: Zum einen die Außenseite (wie er es mit eigenen Worten bezeichnet) wie sie seine Frau und sein Sohn durchlebten ...more
Dennis Littrell
May 11, 2010 Dennis Littrell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
Reemtsma, Jan Philipp. In the Cellar (1999) trans, Carol Brown Janeway *****
A Dostoyevskian experience with terror

Reemtsma, a 45-year-old German philologist worth $300-million, is kidnaped for ransom and held for thirty-three days chained to the wall in a dark cellar. This short book without chapters is about the trauma of that experience. This is an intensely personal study of being powerless and humiliated, of being reduced to something close to subhuman. But Reemtsma learns that the "he" who
Sep 20, 2010 skein rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 3-star
So. After a kidnapping and thirty-three days of nearly total isolation, Jan is released to his wife and child and a media circus. His identity snaps in two, or separates on some invisible line: not just before and after but during which is not the space between but encompasses both and the future as well, and the he and I here used to demarcate experience (he is the one in the cellar, I am the one writing this and remembering it).
Intense, to be sure.
My problems with this were mainly (I think) wi
Feb 25, 2011 Riana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trauma
mr. reemtsma's account of his abduction and captivity is a quiet, non-sensational book, thankfully. i found it very insightful.

the first part is just interesting to read: what are the police procedures in the case of an abduction, how do police and media cooperate, etc.

the personal part is brutally honest, and mr. reemtsa has all my respect for that, it takes a lot of courage. he shows himself in all his vulnerability and portrays the psychological suffering of a hostage in a very personal way
Mar 27, 2007 Kristy rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: autobiography
Reetsma was a wealthy academic (inherited it all) and was kidnapped in the 90s for 30 Million. The transaction went through, he lived, and wrote about his 30some days chained in a cellar.

Any ordeal like this would be traumatic, but Reetsma sprinkles his account with a lot of introspective and literary moments capable only of an academic. It isn't that I question his memory, but I find some of the tangents tedious. The book should have ended 50 pgs earlier.
Valerie Ireland
Jul 01, 2008 Valerie Ireland rated it it was amazing
I loved his firthand account of being kidnapped in 1996, where he was held chained in a basement for 33 days before his wife could hand over 30,000 marks ransom. Very deep and personal.
Christiane Alsop
Feb 28, 2010 Christiane Alsop rated it it was ok
His account of being kidnapped.
I couldn't really connect with his narrative voice.
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