Old Guard Press

Andrew Karpati Kennedy - Chance Survivor


Andrew Karpati Kennedy - Chance Survivor

Paperback, 208pp, 9x6ins

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A personal story caught up in the dark history of the mid-twentieth century begins with a lost child's cry. A dozen years of sheltered life in a Hungarian middle-class family—a vanished age of peace and luxury behind precariously concealed Jewish origins—is wrenched into persecution by the Nazi invasion of March 1944 — the overcrowded ghetto, the horror of the brickworks camp and deportation follow. The author's evocative account of what it was like to travel on one of Eichmann's trains in reprinted here from The Observer. Thanks to an SS transport officer's error, the deportation train ends up not in Auschwitz, as intended, but (via a transit camp offering real showers, not gas) in the outskirts of Vienna, where children worked only six hours a day producing anti-aircraft guns for the Third Reich. The boy's father dies, his mother and sister survive, as does he despite under-nourishment, typhoid, air raids and the dangers of late-war Nazi chaos. Physical survival is followed by a series of existential trials — repatriation, refugee status in England with a struggle for 'Englishness' — especially in language, writing and scholarship — together with a season of clinical depression and prolonged maladjustment. The book concludes with general reflections on topics such as closeness to German culture and being an outsider.


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