Jurek Becker was one of the giants of postwar German literature. The novel for which he is best-known, Jacob the Liar, won wide acclaim, was awarded the Heinrich-Mann and Charles Veillon Prizes, and was made into two movies. It has been called a novel about the martyrdom of Europe’s Jews that has never been surpassed” (Times Literary Supplement). The Wall is a new, brief collection of stories by Becker that have either never been translated into English or been published here in book form before. The title story, The Wall,” recounts two boys’ risky adventure when they scale the wall of a transit camp to visit the ghetto their families have recently vacated. In The Most Popular Family Story,” a favorite anecdote recounted year after year at the gatherings of an extended Jewish family subtly marks the absences left by the Holocaust. Also included are two stories of Communist East Germany and the wall that divided Berlin, The Suspect” and Romeo,” as well as a short essay on the Lodz ghetto, The Invisible City.” Christine Becker has provided an introduction to the collection.
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