I hope you allow me to use this platform to announce the publication of a novel by Henk Wevers entitled: Going East. It is available at the bookstore Novel Ideas, 156 Princess Street, Kingston, ON.
The historic novel reminds us of several contemporary issues such as nationalism, refugees fleeing war and dictatorial regimes, and the creeping influence of extreme political movements.
Synopsis: Adina Baumgarten, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam, is the main character in this novella. She is a fired from her position together with all Jewish faculty, on orders from the Nazis who had invaded Holland in early 1940. She decides to volunteer in a refugee camp for German Jews who fled the Hitler regime in the late 1930-s, and entered Holland illegally. Adina becomes a prisoner herself when the camp turns into a transit centre for the deportation of Dutch Jewish citizens, and other “undesirable” human beings, to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In a strange twist she is assigned to work in the Hollerith administrative centre at Auschwitz I which is part of the immense Auschwitz complex of camps and factories.
Adina finally escapes to become a member of the commandant’s family. Her dreamlike existence, in a relative peaceful part of East Germany close to Dresden, is utterly destroyed when the city is fire-bombed by the Allied Forces. This gives her a chance to join a large group of internally displaced Germans and refugees of many nationalities who flee the advancing Russian Army at the Eastern Front. After the German capitulation, she travels by bicycle to the American positions west of Leipzig in the state of Thuringen. From there, she enters her liberated country near Arnhem. She is the only member of her family who survived the war.
While the period is dark and horrific, Adina’s spirit and personal qualities makes this an uplifting story that explores good and evil in Dutch and German society, the crimes committed in war by all sides, and dubious political decisions made by elites affecting ordinary people.