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Book Title: Nine Suitcases: A Memoir|
The author of the book: Béla Zsolt
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 861 KB
Date of issue: November 9th 2004
ISBN 13: 9780805242041
Read full description of the books Nine Suitcases: A Memoir:Suppressed by the Communists for nearly forty years and never before published in English, Nine Suitcases is one of the first—and greatest—memoirs of the Holocaust ever written. Originally published in Hungary in weekly installments starting in 1946, it tells the harrowing story of Béla Zsolt’s experiences in the ghetto and as a forced laborer in the Ukraine. It gives not only a rare insight into Hungarian fascism, but also a shocking exposure to the cruelty, indifference, selfishness, cowardice and betrayal of which human beings—the victims no less than the perpetrators—are capable in extreme circumstances.
Apart from being one of the earliest writers on the Holocaust, Zsolt is also one of the most powerful. He bears comparison with Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, or Imre Kertész. Both an accomplished novelist and a highly skilled journalist, he was reporting and analyzing these appalling events soon after they occurred with exceptional clarity and a devastating blend of angry despair and cool detachment.
Zsolt was spared Auschwitz, but he witnessed and suffered some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust elsewhere; his nightmarish but meticulously realistic chronicle of smaller and larger crimes against humanity is as riveting as it is horrifying. The rediscovery and publication of Nine Suitcases is an event of great historical importance.
Read information about the authorBéla Zsolt was the Hungarian author of one of the earliest Holocaust memoirs, Nine Suitcases (Kilenc koffer in Hungarian) translated into English by Ladislaus Lob.
He wrote seven novels and three other works including one volume of poetry.
Before the First World War and whilst still a young man, Zsolt was already considered an outstanding representative of the Hungarian Decadence movement. In the tumultuous years of revolution, 1918 and 1919, he was a vehement advocate for a bourgeois-liberal regime and opponent of the soviet republics and Horthy's emerging Christian-nationalist corporate state.
In 1920 Zsolt moved from his birthplace Nagyvárad (Oradea) to Budapest where he quickly established himself in literary circles. His articles and novels gained general recognition. Like thousands of other Hungarian Jews in the Second World War Béla Zsolt was a forced laborer for the Ukrainian army on the Ukrainian eastern front. His wife was able to secure his return to Hungary where, however, he was soon afterwards imprisoned in Budapest's infamous Margit körút Prison. Using a false name he went underground in the Nagyvárad (Oradea) ghetto. Zsolt depicts his experiences at the front, in the ghetto and his adventurous rescue from deportation in summer 1944 in his book Nine Suitcases. His wife was rescued with him, his in-laws and wife's daughter Éva Heyman from her first marriage were transported to Auschwitz where they were killed.
As part of the so-called 'Kasztner train' Zsolt's freedom, along with that of a thousand other Hungarian Jews, was bought from the Nazis. He spent the second half of 1944 in Bergen-Belsen with his wife awaiting emigration. The move to Switzerland followed in December.
Following his return to Hungary in 1945 Zsolt founded the Magyar Radikális Párt (Radical Bourgeois Party), whose newspaper Haladás ("Progress") he edited. Zsolt was elected to the National Assembly of Hungary at his second attempt. He did not live to see the ultimate seizure of power by the communists. Béla Zsolt died in 1949 following a serious illness.
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