Zeebra Books Prague-born Lustig The Bitter Smell of Almonds adds this chronicle of a resilient teenage girl to his highly regarded oeuvre of spare and haunting novels rooted in the Holocaust. The "lovely green eyes" of the title belong to year-old Hanka "Skinny" Kaudersova, a shy, ginger-haired girl and the only member of her family to avoid death in Auschwitz. At first a cleaner in a camp hospital lab where the doctor sterilizes her , she continues to evade extermination by lying about her age and her heritage passing herself as Aryan and is requisitioned as a prostitute in the German military field brothels. In a typical workday, Hanka services at least a dozen soldiers, many of whom are distraught and violent.

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Beyond good and evil. The bomb that drops on an inhabited site. A town consumed by flames. Anything that dissolves into nothing. A captured enemy division turned into ashes like those vermin at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and Majdanek. The hand grenade we thrust between the legs of that Jewish prostitute.

I pulled the pin and watched from a distance as she lay there, with her hands tied, screaming, and then turned into a firework. I have had holocaust deniers argue with me on Facebook.

This is beyond disgusting, it is terrifying. The meat of this book comes from close up views of the Nazi mindset portrayed by two officers.

It would be boring if it was not also exalted. Yes, brutality was exalted.. The history of the Jews was a story of cunning, fraud and deceit. They were all liars. The worst crime of the circumcised was their assertion that all men are equal. Strength was more than truth Power is the bride of the bold.

The clenched fist, ready to strike the enemy, was more convincing than the outpourings of all aesthetes or the books written by the hook-nosed since the beginning of time. It took the rounded-up men, women, children and old people well into the night before they had dug a pit big enough for 5, people..

The soldiers ordered them to strip naked.. He would never forget that night, the scent of resin, the silence of those they shot one by one or in groups. He remembered clearly the way they fell or slipped into the pits, leaning forwards or kneeling, as the firing squad ordered them to make sure they dropped inside The soldiers were anxious not to let those merely wounded at the bottom of the pit scramble out through the mass of cooling corpses and escape under cover of darkness.

To make quite sure all were dead Sarazin gave orders for salvoes to be fired into the pit. He set his men an example by emptying several magazines himself.. He arranged for the clothes of the dead to be packed in crates. He had a special tent put up for the representatives of the local administration, including the mayor, to ensure that the men..

He was quite used to the sight of a yellowish mass of corpses interlaced with each other like plaited rolls or Christmas loaves, piled from one side of the pit to the other, a mass of arms.

Before falling asleep he relived the operation, the shots ringing in his ears - volleys, single shots - the orchestra of machine guns. But what he saw the following morning was beyond anything he had seen before - it was an image worthy of a great poet, horrible and beautiful, because exceptional It took his breath away. The dead, piled together in wild confusion so tightly there was practically no space between them, all of them the colour of a yellowish candle, had begun to move.

None of the bodies remained still. They moved in waves, they shifted like branches rocked by the wind. He knew they were not alive..

The dead mass was moving its arms, legs and heads, hair was being ruffled, their lips and eyebrows were twitching and their eyes were being opened. Not even their genitals remained at rest, male or female, behind their pubic hair.

What was going on? He rubbed his eyes. Huge numbers of rats were scurrying among the bodies, gnawing at the dead, creeping into their mouths and other orifices, into their armpits and between their legs. There were probably more rats than bodies. The logical conclusion of eugenics and racism. Sickening, chilling.

We must never forget. I said this was ridiculous victim blaming and nothing they could have done would have avoided the holocaust. As a novel this is flawed, not least from a p. However I still give it 5 stars due to the power of its message, which is well articulated.


Lovely Green Eyes: A Novel

He left the former Czechoslovakia in and settled in the United States. The author of novels, poetry, and short stories, he won the National Jewish Book Award twice and was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in He died in his native Prague in They had demanded an extension of the shift until 4 p. For the past three days the frost had been severe. The pipes in the former agricultural estate had burst when the water in them froze.

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When her family is deported to Auschwitz, her mother, father and younger brother are sent to the gas chamber. By a twist of fate, Hanka is faced with a simple alternative: follow her family, or work in an SS brothel behind the eastern front. She chooses to live, her Aryan looks allowing her to disguise the fact that she is Jewish. As the German army retreats from the Russian front, Hanka battles cold, hunger, fear and shame, sustained by her hatred for the men she entertains, her friendship with the mysterious Estelle, and her fierce, burning desire for life.


Lovely Green Eyes




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