Monday, February 15, 2010

A Jew Must Die-Jacques Chessex

A Jew Must Die
Jacques Chessex
Bitter Lemon, Apr 1 2010, $12.95
ISBN: 9781904738510

Like Asia and North Africa, Europe is on fire as Hitler’s bloody war spreads in all direction across the continent. Only Switzerland nestled in the Alps seems immune, but the economy is severely impacted throughout the nation as unemployment and bankruptcies are rising rapidly. Also even in this nation, dark Nazi nightmares exist as some locals work their insidious master plan.

In the Swiss market town Payerne, local Nazi leader Fernand Ischi blames the 500 unemployed out of 5000 citizens on the Jews. He encourages teaching them a lesson for being God’s abominations by taking their property. On April 16, 1942, Swiss Nazis salute the Fuhrer and his final solution when they persuade sixty years old Jewish cattle merchant Arthur Bloch to enter an empty stable. Once inside they hammer him to death with a crowbar and cut up his body placing the parts into milk containers to float away on the nearby lake on Hitler’s birthday. None even show the slightest remorse as Jews deserve this treatment as Ischi believes the first sacrifice takes him on his way to becoming the regional gauleiter leader of the Swiss Nazi Party. That is until the containers fail to float away; Kaddash is prayed for Arthur as it will be for six million others for eternity.

Based on a true horror story just like Jacques Chessex’s previous tale The Vampire of Ropaz, A Jew Must Die is a gripping translation of a superb French drama that will have readers shocked that such a hate crime occurred. The cast drives the novellas as the audience sees what motivates the monster and his goons to violence, the regional Jewish community to fear, and the local townsfolk to horror. Without preaching, Monsieur Chessex leaves readers to wonder why God tolerates acts of intolerance in his name.

Harriet Klausner

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