True Story Mark Roseman The Past in Hiding

ISBN 13: 9780140285758

The Past in Hiding

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9780140285758: The Past in Hiding

This volume is the story of a historian, Mark Roseman, and his relationship with Marianne Ellenbogen (nee Strauss) - an elderly Liverpool resident with a remarkable past. This chance meeting between an expert on Germany and a survivor of the most terrible event in Germany's history had an impact that neither party could have anticipated. Roseman interviewed Marianne Ellenbogen several times about her experiences, but then - after Marianne's death in 1996 - he found himself with access to a vast range of papers secreted in their house - photos, diaries, letters. This book is about the extraordinary physical and emotional journey these papers provoked -it is a detective story, a love story, a story of great courage and survival under impossible conditions. Drawing on interviews with those who knew Marianne, on countless papers and on Roseman's wider knowledge of the Third Reich, this story s also about a historian's investigation into the nature of memory - about a past that remained "in hiding" for more than 50 years.

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Review:

Marianne Strauss was not unique, but she was extraordinary. An attractive, resourceful young German-Jewish woman, she fled her home in Essen in 1943 when the SS came to arrest her family for transportation to Theresienstadt. She expected a bullet in her back; when none came, she kept running, straight into the protective net of the Bund, an informal but dedicated left-wing group that mixed politics and gymnastics. Her family were subsequently murdered in Auschwitz. How she survived the last years of the war in Germany (mostly a mixture of luck, skills, capital and being a woman), and how she settled after the war in Liverpool, are the bare bones of historian Mark Roseman's account. More than that, though, it is a history of memory, and the complicated hall of mirrors in which it is constantly shaped and distorted. Lawrence L. Langer, professor of Holocaust literature, has written that we are entering a second phase of Shoah response, moving from what we know, to how we remember. Collective memory depends on individual testimony, and Roseman's mature and sensitive investigation is timely, as he is conscious of standing on the cusp of that new era, with so many survivors and their family and acquaintances, and Marianne herself, dying as he writes. While her death is disheartening, it allows him to uncover more than he might have done otherwise, though he deeply regrets not being able to share, or consult, with her. And in his text, through the letters and diaries his subsequent paper chase uncovers, her literary voice develops across time, providing contemporary insights that time might have withered. Roseman is not afraid to consider occasions when Marianne, inadvertently or otherwise, took up others' tales as her own, or adjusted circumstances to give her history a dramatic twist. This could be discrediting. In fact, it is empowering. In the battle against revisionist denial, it is increasingly essential to be painstaking and not to view accounts uncritically. Roseman seeks no easy answers, and his quietly sympathetic research and determined beetling shapes a book about death and the horrific mundanity of persecution, but which contrarily bursts with life and vigour. --David Vincent

Review:

"* "The Past in Hiding" is as raw as history, as subtle and fascinating as a fine novel, and as mysterious as life" Stanley Hoffman * "This is one of the most compelling Holocaust stories I have read...it is not just her [Marianne's] story that is fascinating, but the way that Mark Roseman tells it. He never writes as an impartial observer, but allows his analysis to inform the story. This sense of the author as modern commentator lends to a picaresque history a very special importance." Julia Pascal, The Independent."

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Roseman, Mark
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