On April 16, 1942, a few days before Hitler's birthday, a handful of Swiss Nazis in Payerne lure Arthur Bloch, a Jewish cattle merchant, into a stable and kill him with an iron bar.
Europe is in flames, but this is Switzerland, and Payerne, a rural market town of butchers and bankers, is more concerned with unemployment and local bankruptcies than the fate of nations across the border.
Fernand Ischi, leader of the local Nazi cell, blames everything on the Jews and Bloch's murder is to be an example, a foretaste of what is to come once the Nazis take over Switzerland.
Jacques Chessex, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, was a child in Payerne.
He knew the murderers and sat next to Ischi's children in school.
He has written a terse, implacable story that has awakened memories in a country that seems to endlessly rediscover dark areas of its past.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 122 pages
- Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
- Publication Date: 01/02/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781904738510
- EPUB from £9.59
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Review by 2wonderY
Told briefly and matter-of-fact, but imbued with the horror of it. Towards the end he explains his need to write the story, quoting philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch's term "imprescriptible" that to use this evil for some aesthetic purpose is inadmissible. He further states that the event itself poisons him and leaves him with an irrational sense of sin. Commonality of the human fall?This is as powerful as 'Waiting for the Barbarians.'