Hell's Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-Five by Victor Ripp

By Victor Ripp

In July 1942, the French police in Paris, performing for the German army govt, arrested Victor Ripp’s three-year-old cousin, Alexandre. months later, the boy used to be killed in Auschwitz. In Hell’s Traces, Ripp examines this act throughout the prism of relatives heritage. as well as Alexandre, ten participants of Ripp’s relatives on his father’s part died within the Holocaust. His mother’s facet of the kin, numbering thirty humans, used to be in Berlin whilst Hitler got here to strength. with out exception they escaped the ultimate resolution.

Hell’s lines tells the tale of the 2 households’ divergent paths. To spark the prior to existence, he embarks on a trip to go to Holocaust memorials all through Europe. “Could a stone pillar or a bronze plaque or no matter what else constitutes a memorial,” he asks, “cause occasions that came about greater than seven a long time in the past to seem vivid?”

A memorial in Warsaw that features a boxcar just like the ones that carried Jews to Auschwitz compels Ripp to consider the horror of Alexandre’s delivery to his demise. One in Berlin that invokes the anti-Jewish legislation of the Nineteen Thirties permits him to higher know the way his mother’s kin escaped the Nazis. In Paris he stumbles throughout a playground devoted to the reminiscence of the French little ones who have been deported, Alexandre between them. eventually, Ripp sees thirty-five memorials in six international locations. He encounters the artists who designed the memorials, historians who remember the occasions which are memorialized, and survivors with their very own tales to tell.

Resolutely unsentimental, Hell’s Traces is established like a travelogue during which each one vacation spot permits a reckoning with the past.

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