Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Badenheim 1939” as Want to Read:
Badenheim 1939
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Badenheim 1939

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  810 ratings  ·  84 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

Paperback, 148 pages
Published March 13th 1995 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1979)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Badenheim 1939, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Badenheim 1939

Community Reviews

Showing 1-58
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  810 ratings  ·  84 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Badenheim 1939
Greta G
An absurdist, surreal story about a group of jewish tourists in an Austrian resort in the fictional village of Badenheim, in the year 1939.
Slowly, the idyllic resort transforms into a sealed ghetto.
The guests are ignorant and in denial of the tragedy that is about to befall them, and fantasize about emigrating to Poland where a better future awaits them.

As I'm writing this, I realize what a strong premise this is. How can anyone foresee such an apocalyptic fate ?
Unfortunately, I didn't think
An engrossing novella translated from the Hebrew. The Shoah begins in a parallel universe. The resort town of Badenheim is undergoing a quarantine. All the Jews must register with the Sanitation Department. Mail service is stopped; all phones disconnected. The performing artists Dr. Pappenheim, the impresario, has contracted with don’t show up for the season’s cultural festival. Then word gets out that everyone will be resettled in Poland. The locals and visitors—all Jews—go through phases of do ...more
Il mio ricordo di lettura di Aharon Appelfeld, scomparso ieri.

Come pesci in bottiglia

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 è tutto così saranno le centoquarantuno pagine più lunghe della storia!», poi per fortuna la narrazione (ed io con lei) ha preso respiro ed è partita la storia.
Una storia
হলোকস্ট সাহিত্য যে অল্প কিছু পড়েছি, একেকজন লেখকের একেকরকম দৃষ্টিকোণ থেকে। আর্ট স্পিগেল্ম্যানের বিখ্যাত কমিক উপন্যাস "মাউস" ছিল কল্পনায় অভিনব - গ্যাস চেম্বার থেকে কপাল-জোরে বেঁচে যাওয়া পিতা-মাতার শিল্পী সন্তানের হলোকস্ট-ভাবনা। চেক লেখক জিরি ভাইল একদম ভেতর থেকে দেখেছিলেন যজ্ঞ - নাৎসি-কবলিত প্রাগে একজন মরিয়া ইহুদির লুকিয়ে থাকার গল্প "লাইফ উইথ আ ষ্টার"। অর্ধাহার-অনাহারে মরে যাবে প্রয়োজনে কিন্তু তবুও স্বেচ্ছায় ক্যাম্পের ট্রেনের জন্যে সে নাম লেখাবে না, কোনক্রমেই সে তেরেজিনে যা-বে-না। এলি ভিজেলে ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Leider haben mir persönlich sowohl die Erzählweise (kurze, unverknüpfte Hauptsätze), als auch der parabolische Charakter der Erzählung nicht besonders gut gefallen.
Da das alles aber ja intendiert ist und nicht am Unvermögen des Autors liegt: Drei Sterne.
Yair Ben-Zvi
Dec 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Kris McCracken
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nu am mare lucru de spus despre cartea asta, dar m-a deranjat major faptul că e tradusă din engleză în română, în loc să fie din ebraică...
A, se citește fenomenal de repede (eu citind foarte lent de felul meu).
Feb 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: jewish-interest
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George K.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 20th-century
Έτος 1939, παραμονές του Β' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου και στη λουτρόπολη του Μπάντενχαϊμ όλα κυλούν αρμονικά, μια νωχελική ανεμελιά διακρίνει τους κατοίκους και τους παραθεριστές, οι οποίοι περιμένουν πώς και πώς το φεστιβάλ μουσικής που διοργανώνεται κάθε χρόνο. Μάλιστα, σύμφωνα με τον διοργανωτή, ειδικά αυτή τη χρονιά αναμένονται σπουδαίοι καλλιτέχνες. Μέχρι το φεστιβάλ, οι αδιακρισίες, τα κουτσομπολιά και τα ειδύλλια είναι στην ημερήσια διάταξη. Όμως, ξαφνικά, τα πάντα στραβώνουν, φαίνεται ότι υπάρχ ...more
Kobe Bryant
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Strange little book
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
""You could see that they wanted to die, but Death did not seem to want them yet . . . they had retreated into the bushes and waited for Death, and because Death did not come for them they came out and stood under the light.""

The book has a simple opening line, "Spring returned to Badenheim." On the face of it an occurrence that happens every year but the reader, with the benefit of history, suddenly begins to realise that this is not going to be an ordinary year. Spring, normally a time of rebi
Andrea Mullarkey
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This small book was recommended to me by a friend with whom I share similar literary tastes and political leanings. She recommended it as a bit of bibliotherapy for this difficult time. Ever since the election I have struggled to make sense of my world in this particular time. It feels very much like we are at a pivot point. But around what are we pivoting? And where are we headed? There is an awful lot of talk comparing this moment either to the days leading up to the fall of the Roman Empire o ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hebrew, jewish, wwi-ii, israel
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
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books

Writing 5
Story line 5
Characters 3
Emotional impact 5

Overall rating 4.5
Tracy Towley
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 '
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an eerie book. Picked it up after learning of the death of its prolific author, a multi-lingual survivor of the Holocaust originally from Romania who settled & eventually began his writing career in Israel (& in Hebrew). This first novel launched that career in 1978, and is impossible to comprehend without the knowledge of the horror that engulfed the Jews in Europe during the middle of the last century. The Holocaust is the elephant in, around, and all over the room here, and Appelfeld's p ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I started this long ago and too many other books got in the way of finishing it. It is a frightening story, translated from a well-known German writer, published in the eighties, the story describes a German resort town (in 1939) where the leisure is profound and the people are eccentric. Visiting patrons, musicians, child prodigies and colorful townspeople lazily gather for summer entertainment. During this time, though taken without alarm, an agency moves in and begins registering people, and ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Gerald McFarland
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe a 4.5. It's spring 1939, and vacationers, most of them Jewish, are gathering at the small Austrian resort town of Badenheim, a fictional place less than a day's travel from Vienna. Austria has come under German control, and an ominous feature of the situation is that officials of a so-called Sanitation Department are going around registering Jews. Apparently, they are to be sent to Poland. The vacationers remain obstinately oblivious to what this means, telling each other that Poland (for ...more
Anne Kirkup
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I discovered Appelfeld through an obit in the NY Times and was intrigued that he was one of the first novelists to write in modern Hebrew. First I read his The Immortal Bartfuss- a dark, grim novel set in Israel with refugees after WWII - so much for smiling, optimistic Kibbutzim, sunny skies and oranges. Badenheim 1939 goes back in time just before the outbreak of WWII. It's a terse allegorical novel about the impending holocaust. Nothing really happens, but there's a growing sense of malaise a ...more
Joan Eisenstodt
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Until he died, I had not read Mr. Appelfeld's books. How sad to wait so long.

And with this, one knows the outcome certainly -- altho' if you are a Millennial or are giving this book to a Millennial, we have learned recently how few will know the outcome.

The language is so rich. The characters so vividly written - I could feel their presence and wanted to take them away - to warn them away.

I wanted to hear their poetry read and their music played. I wanted to eat at the bakery.

Yes, read this. No
Sep 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: physical-copy
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.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author provides what is, on the surface, a simply-written description of the activities of Jewish residents and guests in an Austrian resort town in 1939. Yet in some way which I can't describe, he clearly imparts the sense of impending doom which the reader knows awaits them. I cringed throughout reading this short and excellent book.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scarno, surreale, terribile: i personaggi di questo libro sembrano usciti da un quadro di George Grosz. Piu' vai avanti nel libro e piu' ti domandi come mai i personaggi non si rendano conto dell'orrore che li attende, perche' non si fanno domande, perche' continuano ad accettare le imposizioni senza reagire, ma quasi con contentezza.
Un libro controverso, ma sicuramente da consigliare.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Gülay Cansever
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hitler döneminde bir Avusturya kasabası. Polonya'ya döneceklerinin hayaline kapılan Yahudiler. Ve aslında onları bekleyen başka bir şey...
yazım dilini çok beğendim. kitabın kısa olması , sıkmaması bence artı puan kazandırdı yazara.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite Appelfeld.
marked it as to-read
Oct 12, 2013
Ruth Haehni
rated it really liked it
May 08, 2015
rated it really liked it
May 23, 2016
marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2016
marked it as to-read
Apr 24, 2017
rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2007
rated it liked it
Jun 13, 2007
marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2012
rated it liked it
Oct 27, 2012
added it
Nov 22, 2014
marked it as to-read
May 17, 2015
Pricilla Boykin
marked it as to-read
Jan 07, 2016
Cecilia Franco
rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2017
Charlie Clark
marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2020
rated it really liked it
May 17, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Jun 30, 2007
rated it did not like it
Jul 14, 2007
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2007
rated it really liked it
Sep 02, 2007
rated it really liked it
Sep 05, 2007
Prooost Davis
rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2007
marked it as to-read
Dec 03, 2007
rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2007
rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Dec 25, 2007
rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2008
rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: please correct the translator 2 21 Oct 21, 2018 05:07PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Emigrants
  • Rhyming Life and Death
  • The Hill of Evil Counsel
  • The Listening Walls
  • Two Tales
  • Our Own Backyard: The United States In Central America, 1977-1992
  • Dead Last (Thorn, #12)
  • Dark Water
  • והכלה סגרה את הדלת
  • The Song Before it is Sung
  • בית על מים רבים
  • Gli occhiali d'oro: Il romanzo di Ferrara
  • How to Cure a Fanatic
  • The Magic Barrel
  • The Brothers Ashkenazi
  • Twenty-One Stories
  • Between Friends
  • A Tale of Love and Darkness
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

Dragons, demons, kings, queens, and the occasional farm boy (with a special destiny, of course): Fantasy literature has it all! To celebrate ou...
84 likes · 32 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Since they were unable to liberate themselves from the old words and the fear, they prowled the streets and cast their angry shadows.” 0 likes
“Where are you from, Jews?" asked the rabbi as people used to ask in the old days. An ancient grief glazed his eyes.” 0 likes
More quotes…