The Testament by Elie Wiesel
Translated by Marion Wiesel
original title – Le Testament d’un poète juif assassiné
Source review copy
Elie Wiesel is probably one of the best known Jewish names in the world .Born in Romania he grew up in a house speaking Yiddish.His father encouraged him to read and learn Hebrew .He was caught up in the war and end up in one of the Nazis Concentration camps he has the number 7713 , he was lucky to survive and since the war he has taught Hebrew and publish many books on his experience and Novels like this about the War and the Jewish experience in the war ,for his work in highlighting the holocaust he was awarded The Nobel Peace prize in 1986 as the committee said Elie Wiesel was ” A witness for truth and justice ” .This novel was published in 1980.
Grisch , my son
I am interuoting my Testament to write you this letter when you read it , you will be old enough to understand it and me .But will you read it ? Will you receive it ? .I fear not .Like all writing of prisoners it will rot in the secret archives . and yet … something in me tells me that a testament is never lost .Even if nobody reads it ,its content is transmitted
Paltiel writing at the start of the book to his son Grisch
The testament is a book that has an ambitious scope to it as Elie Wiesel has tried to capture in some way the changing face of Europe throughout the 20th century .The person describing this journey is A “mute poet ” Paltiel Kossover ,he is Jewish and grew up in Russia before Lenin and Stalin took power .Now Paltiel has two things we should know about him the first is he believes in Communism ,this takes him some part to spain to fight in the civil war there .But he also like many writers in Stalin time ends up in Jail for his thoughts .But he is also Jews this brings him into conflict with the Nazis and leads him to go the holy land .This book is a letter or Testament to a son that he will never really know .We see the europe he saw unfold before us .
In my dream
if he is still
I hold his hand
and I ache
I talk to him
and I ache
the First two verses of one of Paltiel Kosovers poems from the book .
Now any one that has read this blog for a while will know I have a real soft spot (is that the right term a needing to read ,learn and thus impart to others ) books about the war and Holocaust .Elie Wiesel is someone I had read years ago he alongside the likes of Levi is one of the strongest voices about what happened during the Holocaust .So this novel thou not directly involving The concentration camps skirts the times ,Does show another Jewish life in the Europe off the time and one that has equally had its ups and Downs the choice of a man who can not speak gives this story a feel have been written by an observer as Paltiel see ,hears but doesn’t speak it all .Elie has managed to capture how it felt to be some during the Russian revolution fight in the Spanish war .Also the purges and dark times of Russia under Stalin this is one for anyone that like 20th century history .
Have you a favourite book that looks back on 20th century history ?