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Badenheim 1939

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  394 ratings  ·  44 reviews

It is the spring of 1939. In months Europe will be Hitler's, and Badenheim, a resort town vaguely in the orbit of Vienna, is preparing for its annual summer season. Soon the vacationers arrive, as they always have, a sample of Jewish middle-class life. The story unfolds as a matter-of-factly as a Chekhov play, its characters so deeply held by their defensive trivia that th

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Paperback, 148 pages
Published March 13th 1995 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1978)
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Kris McCracken
an odd, dreamlike novel set in an imagined Austrian resort town at the beginning of the Second World War as groups of middle-class Jews arrive to spend another idyllic summer vacation at an annual arts festival.

There is a fair whiff of Kafka in Appelfeld's restrained prose, and the incongruity of the characters’ struggle to maintain (simulate?) normality against the intimations of the approaching catastrophe. Although the reader has no choice but factor in the impending Holocaust as both the his
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Susan
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Agnes Mack
The story took place right before the Holocaust began, at a Jewish vacation resort. One day, the local authorities shut the place down, but forced those visiting to stay in the resort. Over time, they brought many local Jewish citizens to live within the now guarded gates of the resort.

The people in the resort initially thought they were pretty damn lucky. They were able to remain at their favorite resort for free! Authorities brought in cases of food, medications and other necessities and the '
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Yair Bezalel
A Japanese proverb states that 'The nail that sticks out gets hammered down'. Now, let's play the perspective game, imbuing some life into the nails and into the hammer. The nails sticking out, whether deliberately or not, the hammer coming down, steady, inevitable, fast or slow, the impact is in the wings and it won't be softened or lessened, it can't, these things don't factor in. Now, what to make of it? What, if anything, can be done?

With that salvo fired, let me say that this book is a bit
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Audrey
Dec 05, 2014 Audrey added it
I read this book with my Jewish Lit group at my synagogue. It w as chilling to read. It takes place in Badenheim, an Austrian resort spa. In the summer of 1939 the authorities begin preparations to isolate the Jews in the community-both residents and guests- and move them to the death camps. In the beginning of the process, t he Jews are told they must register and take this as a sign of special treatment. But as time passes they are more and more isolated from the world. Phone service is cut . ...more
Piperitapitta
Sono un po' perplessa da questo mio primo incontro con Aharon Appelfeld.
La lettura della prima pagina mi ha irritata: frasi cortissime, periodi semplici: soggetto, predicato verbale, punto. Una sensazione di interruzione continua.
Ho pensato ��Se �� tutto cos�� saranno le centoquarantuno pagine pi�� lunghe della storia!��, poi per fortuna la narrazione (ed io con lei) ha preso respiro ed �� partita la storia.
Una storia semplice, ma mai chiara, come avvolta dalla foschia, da un velo che spostandos
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Piperitapitta
Sono un po' perplessa da questo mio primo incontro con Aharon Appelfeld.
La lettura della prima pagina mi ha irritata: frasi cortissime, periodi semplici: soggetto, predicato verbale, punto. Una sensazione di interruzione continua.
Ho pensato ��Se �� tutto cos�� saranno le centoquarantuno pagine pi�� lunghe della storia!��, poi per fortuna la narrazione (ed io con lei) ha preso respiro ed �� partita la storia.
Una storia semplice, ma mai chiara, come avvolta dalla foschia, da un velo che spostandos
...more
Frank
This is not for me. I'm sure it's great, it certainly has quite a reputation. But this dreamlike kind of narrative doesn't do it for me. That endless sequence of short declarative statements, a certain dreamlike lack of narrative cohesion, plus the lack of focus on one character or a narrow set of characters, the lack of insight in any inner lives...

Let's say this is a genre that just isn't to my taste, however well Appelfeld probably succeeds in what he's trying to do in that genre.
Pity.
Lorri
The idyllic resort town of Badenheim is not all it appears to be in 1939. Aharon Appelfeld’s novel, Badenheim 1939, is an extremely beautifully written novel, yet between the pages lurks an underlying sense of doom and gloom.

Badenheim is a resort town somewhere in Austria where Jews go to vacation. It is known for its arts, poetry readings and for its music festival which is headed by one Dr. Pappenheim. He has been busy trying to get musicians from Vienna to come to Badenheim to participate in
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Andrew Carlson
This is such a beautiful book. Set in an Austrian spa town in, erm, 1939. It's the last summer for the Jewish merchant vacationers who come to this town every year. Officials from the sanitation department start to register Jews. Nobody really pays attention. Within a couple weeks, Jews have been quarantined and everyone else has left. They hang out at this hotel and wait for information: no one knows what's going on or what to expect. The book is sort of one long, eerie calm-before-the-storm mo ...more
Kam
not what was promised. I wanted it to be some gradual creepy thing, where the war and horribleness gradually leaks into this place. From the get go, stuff was kind of strange, so "strange-*er*" was pretty much just more strange. Felt a little bit like Strindberg, kind of expressionistic.
Things not said, and general oddness, throughout the two thirds that I did read.
Hermien
I was quite disturbed by this book. The fact that the outcome is known gives you almost a voyeuristic feeling. The characters came across to me as quite human, albeit very naive. Some of them see themselves as Austrians first, Jewish second, and blame the problem on the Ostjuden. I think the reaction of the characters to the events is not unrealistic. If you are middle class, grow up in a country where there is law and order and bureaucracy is lauded, it probably does take a while to realise som ...more
Lisa
A quick novel; I'm glad that I know my WWII history as it would have been hard to understand what was happening without it. A good read, sad example of how the human mind can create such denial and cognitive dissonance in order to survive.
Allison
It took me a while to really like this book which I did from about the middle to the end. It has a surreal, magic realist tenor that is not my favorite. My visual of the place--a holiday resort somewhere in Austria--was as a Florine Stettheimer painting: many microcosms depicted throughout the canvas--vivid, wildly colorful, kooky and slightly skewed scenarios mutually played out by people not of this world. The setting in a holiday resort, where one expects relaxation and a festive environment, ...more
Carol
An amazing little horror story. Should be taught in school.
Tim
Badenheim 1939 tells the tale of an Austrian resort town that slides into a prison for the Jewish population. It is a fable and the innocence and foolishness of the characters before the current and coming disasters remind us how easy it is to deny the horrors we so want to ignore, how much we value our way of life, our habits, and our opinions. A particularly Jewish tale with universal meaning. Simple in format and writing, but achingly difficult to read.
Beth
I don't know if this book was poorly written or if it suffered from poor translation. I think it might be a combination of both issues. The narrative, such that it was, was extremely choppy, there was no flow whatsoever. The characters were one-dimensional at best. I couldn't even remember who some of the characters were, that's how little impression they made. The concept had so much potential, but it did not live up to it at all.
Melinda
A brief novel set in a town in Austria which becomes a way station for Jews about to be deported to Poland, to concentration camps or death camps. Mostly they are in denial about what lies ahead. But how could they have known? What lay ahead was not knowable, was unbelievable, was beyond human experience. But the reader knows what awaits them. A gem of a book, albeit a horrifying story.
Anna
A book similiar to Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. Last summer before World War II - there are blooming tree, pink icecreams and trivial conversations. Rather nice book.
Mike
A lovely short book about a group of Jews in an Austrian resort town in 1939, who are about to be engulfed in the horror of the Holocaust. Appelfeld writes this as a fable, not a realistic novel, which is a very effective approach for about 100 pages. Sadly, the book is 150 pages long. Still, a sad, achingly beautiful depiction of a doomed people.
Brett Byron
Set in a German spa during the time of the expanding Sanitation Department of the resort town calls on the vacationing Jew to register... The prose is simple, detached, ironic; the hotel band plays, lovers stroll green parks, the Final Solution at first seems nothing more threatening than a slightly offbeat postcard or street sign.
Ck1054
A book/play about a Jewish resort town outside of Vienna in 1939. Although this piece of historical fiction became more interesting as I read, I had a difficult time getting though this short book. If you are into historical fiction particularly that of WWII this would be a good read, but it wasn't my cup of tea.
Kriegslok
A well crafted slow moving suffocating nightmare which creeps up so slowly that its victims don't fully realise what is happening until it is too late. I found the writing style a little difficult to get into (I'm not sure if this is a translation issue) but got used to it eventually. Highly recommended.
Zivan
An interesting perspective on the holocaust.

This is not the story of the concentration and death camps, it's the story of people at a holiday resort getting swept into the events of the holocaust without the foreknowledge we have of what is about to befall them.
David R.  Godine
"The writing flows seamlessly ... a small masterpiece."
Irving Howe, New York Times Book Review

"As real as Kafka's unnamed Prague ... imbued with a Watteau-like melancholy."
Gabriel Annan, New York Review of Books
Jen
Allegorical tale of group of Jewish people at the commencement of relocation by the Nazi party. Written by a survivor, the reader must take the judgment being past in the allegory to heart.
Susan Charlip
Deceptively simple, one of those books that is about writing itself. Not a great lover of "Holocaust fiction," so this put me off at first but it is way beyond any genre. Disturbing but masterful.
Clare Butler
This was an interesting read which I read as part of an online course on the Holocaust. Fascinating to think that people could be so blind. Scary book as it was so sinister
Jerroleen
A disturbing book. Stark and powerful. Apathy, denial, inability to see beyond the pettiness of our own problems, too much faith in the system, blind optimism. Wow.
Hollis
I can't believe whoever reviewed this book for GoodReads actually called Appelfeld's eye for everyday detail ''Kafkaesque''. Will you all just stop using this word?
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AHARON APPELFELD is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Until the Dawn's Light and The Iron Tracks (both winners of the National Jewish Book Award) and The Story of a Life (winner of the Prix Médicis Étranger). Other honors he has received include the Giovanni Bocaccio Literary Prize, the Nelly Sachs Prize, the Israel Prize, the Bialik Prize, the Independent Fo ...more
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