& The Rag Doll
are two novellas by the Romanian writer Ludovic Bruckstein
, that have remained
undiscovered for many years. Both narratives are concerned with extraordinary
stories of survival and struggle within the multicultural Transylvanian region
during the time of Nazi occupation.
is the story of Ernest, a young Jewish student from Sighet, who
went into hiding in the mountains surrounding the town, when anti-Semitic
persecutions began. From his hiding places he witnessed the fate of the Jewish
population of the town until they are all sent away, in May 1944, in four long
cattle-train transports to Auschwitz. Shortly thereafter, the Russian soldiers ?liberate?
the town, and Ernest eagerly returns to his parent?s house. However the
Russians, suspicious of a young man that suddenly appears in town, out of
nowhere, arrest him and exile him to a prisoner camp in Siberia! Critics saw in
this last novel of his an allegorical rendering of the situation of many Jews,
who, like himself, after World-War II, readily joined the ?World-Wide Communist
Revolution? to avenge the atrocities of Nazism, only to find themselves trapped
in cruel, dictatorial regimes that became suspicious of them and refused to
allow their assimilation and integration, quite like the regimes before the war.