Tuesday 20 May 2003

Dresden, Theresienstadt, Prague, Nuremberg

Dorothea Salo inquired (via Steve Himmer’s comments):

And where’ve you been, JD? Post count seems down lately.

Post count has been down, indeed. Thirteen posts in twenty days (including this one).

Where’ve I been? In Dresden, mainly.

Dresden, after the firestorm, February 1945

In Theresienstadt too.

Plan and aerial views of Theresienstadt

I had no idea that Theresienstadt (renamed Terezin after WWII) lies halfway between Dresden and Prague, which are only 70 miles apart. I’m taking a crash course in Central European geography.

Maps showing the location of Theresienstadt, near the River Elbe, midway between Dresden and Prague

As far as I can recall, Dresden is never mentioned in Sebald’s novel Austerlitz. After visiting Terezin, where his mother was interned in the ghetto before being deported to one of the Nazi death camps, Austerlitz leaves Prague to travel through Germany for the first time. But, whereas Dresden lies northwest of the Czech capital, Austerlitz heads southwest, through Pilsen, where he had passed with the Kindertransport in the summer of 1939, then on into the mountains dividing Bohemia from Bavaria until he reaches Nuremberg:

…and when I saw the name on a signal box in its German spelling of Nürnberg, which was unfamiliar to me, I remembered what Vera had said about my father’s account of the National Socialist Party rally of 1936 and the roars of acclamation rising from the people who had gathered here at the time.

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Interesting; I've been in Dresden too, by way of Victor Klemperer's amazing diaries, translated as I Will Bear Witness.
(Review here:
http://archive.salon.com/books/sneaks/1998/11/23sneaks.html )
Scary how as soon as Hitler takes over everyone starts falling into line. And every time a cousin emigrates you want to holler "Get out while there's time, dammit!"

Posted by language hat on 21 May 2003 (Comment Permalink)

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Posted by atil on 10 October 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour