From Czernowitz to the German Order of Merit
Bianca Rosenthal. From Czernowitz to the German Order of Merit. A Memoir of Cultural History and Autobiography
The present book is an autobiographical and historical narrative that starts in the 1930s and ends in 1951, the year of the author's arrival in the United States. The narrative combines factual history and reflective analysis to recount the author's childhood, teenage years and young adulthood. It takes place in the city of Czernowitz, in the province of Bukovina that was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before World War I. Later incorporated into greater Romania, it becam Cernăuți. During World War II it was taken over by the Soviet Union and became Tchernovtsy, and re-occupied by Romanian and Nazi German troops with the ensuing Holocaust. Finally, it was re-occupied by the Soviets and incorporate into the Ukraine as Tchernivtsi.
The author manages to capture decisive events of the 20th century in individual chapters, each covering one year, while letting Relly, her alter ego try to understand and interpret as she and the events change.
The author also tells the adventurous escape from the Russians, the odyssey through various post WWII European countries, finally landing in 1946 in a defeated West Germany where she remained until 1951 when she left for the USA.
The world-changing events of the time set the pattern of her life. Having survived as an eyewitness, the story constitutes an analysis of reflective-autobiographical discovery of the past with the construction of memory.
With a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Bianca Rosenthal is Professor Emeritus of German and French Language and Literature at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In addition to numerous articles in professional journals and presentations at national and international conferences, she is the author of two books: Die Idee des Absurden: Friedrich Nietzsche und Albert Camus, and Pathways to Paul Celan: A History of Critical Responses as a Chorus of Discordant Voices.
Softcover - USD $20.95
Hardcover - USD $28.95
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