Read Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination by Otto Dov Kulka Ralph Mandel Ina Friedman Online


Otto Dov Kulka's Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death, translated by Ralph Mandel and Ina Friedman, is a memoir of astounding literary and emotional power, exploring the permanent and indelible marks left by the Holocaust and a childhood spent in Auschwitz.As a child the distinguished historian Otto Dov Kulka was sent first to the ghetto of Theresienstadt and then to AuscOtto Dov Kulka's Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death, translated by Ralph Mandel and Ina Friedman, is a memoir of astounding literary and emotional power, exploring the permanent and indelible marks left by the Holocaust and a childhood spent in Auschwitz.As a child the distinguished historian Otto Dov Kulka was sent first to the ghetto of Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz. As one of the few survivors he has spent much of his life studying Nazism and the Holocaust, but always as a discipline requiring the greatest dispassion and objectivity, with his personal story set to one side. He has nevertheless remained haunted by specific memories and images, thoughts he has been unable to shake off. The extraordinary result of this is Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death - a unique and powerful experiment in how one man has tried to understand his past (and our history)....

Title : Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination
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ISBN : 9781846146831
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination Reviews

  • Carla
    2019-03-20 11:01

    Foto de meio corpo de Otto Dov Kulka tirada por um taxista que o conduziu a AuschwitzHá algumas semanas regressei ao inesgotável tema do Holocausto com "Paisagens da Metrópole da Morte: Reflexões Sobre a Memória e a Imaginação" e fui surpreendida: ainda há factos que eu desconheço sobre o tema e que este livro me revelou.Nestes relatos de pendor mais histórico (e cerebral) sobre a sua experiência em campos de concentração nazis, Kulka oferece-nos uma perspectiva ímpar do Holocausto graças à sua voz diferenciadora e propositadamente "distanciada" face ao que viu e vivenciou. Apesar de lutar para conter a emoção, ela não deixa de estar presente, sentimo-la no intenso esforço empreendido para a embalar nos braços do luto. Otto Dov Kulka quer ser o Historiador, mas não consegue deixar de ser a criança marcada para morrer, o filho dos seus pais prisioneiros e o irmão do etéreo.

  • Peter Landau
    2019-02-28 05:49

    Memory not memoir from Kulka, a historian, of his childhood as a prisoner in Auschwitz, succeeds where most memoirs fail in its ability to poetically mirror the funhouse reflections of a subjective past into an experience that can be shared. Illustrated throughout, jumping in time and space from Poland to Israel, the incomprehensible nature of the Holocaust is not made understandable but visceral without exploitation. It is the searching nature of his narrative, the questioning and the quest, which is what held me through horrific imagery that is never explicit while retaining an emotional power that sneaks up on the reader through long, erudite sentences and dense prose. The choice of "Landscape" in the title isn't arbitrary, for these musings are founded in the physical landscapes of Kulka's memories: of the woods around Auschwitz, its imposing gates, the crematoriums, the black spots that mark the snow on the train from the ghetto to this "Metropolis of Death." It's a travelogue, a Condé Nast of Hell and a moving, personal and artistic statement on the inexpressible.

  • Luís Castilho
    2019-03-13 12:59

    I must confess that I was expecting a much better book. I don't mean to be disrespectful, it is a powerful and moving story of hardships and survival, but for a memoir I found it very confusing and unfocused. There is no clear narrative (as opposed to Elie Wiesel's grandpiece "Night") nor clear timetable. It is in reality a mere collage of thoughts and flashback on the author's 1 and a half imprisonment in Auchwitz, with little to no dramatization or careful narration. If it wasn't for the brilliant editing work (the book is full of awesome historical photographs and the chapters are beautifully rendered), this book would be almost unreadable. All and all a book that could be great but falls short due to its author's lack of ambition. It gets 3 stars solely due to the subject matter.

  • Daphna
    2019-03-22 06:48

    Otto Dov Kulka is an esteemed historian and also himself an Auschwitz survivor. In this book Kulka, the historian, walks through the gates of Auschwitz and awakens the eleven year old child that he was. It is Kulka, the child-inmate, who takes us back to his metropolis of death. This is a very personal rendition with the historian in the background and the child in the foreground. For those who have read Saul Friedlander's Nazi Germany and the Jews, throughout the two volumes Friedlander always brings the individual voice of the journal or letter writer as an additional dimension to the history. But in Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death, the individual story of the child is at the center and Kulka allows us to insert ourselves into the consciousness of the child that he was. There are several utterly devastating moments in this personal account that actually make you stop for a minute before moving on to the next page: the fate of his mother, the twenty year old girl who at the gates of the gas chamber, going to her death, pushes three poems into the hands of a zonderkommando, poems that will rip through you, and the unmitigated acceptance by the child of the inevitability of death as the rule of existence in Auschwitz. And finally, there is the realization (there aren't any spoilers when referring to Auschwitz)of Kulka the adult, that he is forever bound to Auschwitz, that there is no liberation from the metropolis of death.

  • Jody
    2019-03-03 05:06

    I feel a not-inconsequential amount of guilt for giving this book two stars, given that it is a memoir of a man who lived in Auschwitz as a boy, but I couldn't connect with this at all. I found it oddly disjointed & detached, and was almost like a stream of consciousness style of writing (which I don't enjoy). I found that I felt nothing during or after reading this, unlike Night. (Also, I feel like he threw a bit of shade on that and other Holocaust memoirs at one point in the book, although I may have misinterpreted that.) I also found myself getting irrationally irritated at the number of times he used the word "immutable". Translator really needed to get a thesaurus.

  • Naomi
    2019-02-27 10:06

    A necessary addition to the Literature of the Holocaust. Kulka, a professor of Jewish History, had until writing this collection of memories, kept his personal experience as a survivor of Terezín and Auschwitz compartmentalized and separate. The chapters are written as fragments of memory, each one a prose poem, each one a bubbling up of the images, emotions, and sensory details of life in the camps. With brutal honesty and frank clarity, he allows us inside the terrain of his early life. At times bordering on the surreal, as his life must have done, each glimpse takes us deep inside this dark and strangely beautiful landscape. This book is monumentally important, painfully insightful, and--above all--that rare jewel of horror and hope that leaves the reader profoundly changed.

  • Józef Lorski
    2019-02-25 11:43

    Entuzjastyczne recenzje książki Otta Dova Kulki, ja zwykle u mnie, wzbudziły chęć, żeby ją od razu kupić i przeczytać i może na tym by się skończyło, gdybym książki nie dostał w prezencie. Pamiętam w miarę dobrze „Fabrykę śmierci” Kulki i najpierw byłem ciekaw, czy to ten sam autor, ale okazało się, że Otto Dov jest jego synem. Przy okazji sprawdziłem, że „Fabryka śmierci”, napisana po czesku pod tytułem „Tovarna na smrt”, wcale nie ukazała się dopiero w drugiej połowie latach pięćdziesiątych, jak myślałem, ale powstała już w 1946. Że byli więźniowie Oświęcimia mogli napisać rzetelne dzieło na temat obozu zaledwie rok po wyzwoleniu, to coś, co z trudem jestem w stanie pojąć.Z „Pejzażami metropolii śmierci” mam problem. Już sama forma jest nieprosta. Zaczyna się od zapisu nagrywanych wspomnień – refleksji o Auschwitz, które tworzą pierwsze dziesięć rozdziałów, później są trzy fragmenty dziennika autora i na koniec, jako dodatek, zwięzły artykuł dotyczący „obozu rodzinnego” w Birkenau. Pisze to historyk, zajmujący się zawodowo różnymi aspektami historii Żydów w XX wieku, a więc relacjami żydowsko-niemieckimi, żydowsko-chrześcijańskimi, ideologią nazistowską ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem „ostatecznego rozwiązania” itp. Niby te wszystkie tematy współgrają z jego osobistym losem dziecka, które spędziło pierwszych kilka lat życia w przed – i po-monachijskich Czechach, potem w getcie terezińskim i wreszcie w Oświęcimiu, ale jako naukowiec stroni od indywidualnych historii, analizuje dokumenty, działania polityczne itp. Żeby nie było niedomówień, w pierwszych zdaniach „Pejzaży…” podkreśla tę dychotomię, zwracając uwagę czytelnika na fakt, że świadomie wybrał taką metodyką pracy. „Pejzaże metropolii śmierci” są więc czymś, co stanowi odejście od warsztatu historyka w stronę własnych przeżyć, ale raczej nie wspomnień, a czegoś, co tkwi w człowieku bardzo głęboko, od czego nie można się uwolnić. Mogłem zatem się spodziewać wypowiedzi intymnej, poruszającej, a skoro Barbara Engelking pisze: c to oszałamiająca, niezwykła, zaskakująca książka”, także głębokiego przeżycia. Tymczasem ja z tym tekstem nieustannie walczyłem, przedzierałem się przez niego, czasem też zatrzymywałem się, by się spierać, słowem nie dawałem się bez reszty wciągnąć. Myślę, że kilka jest tego przyczyn, w tym też taka, że chyba tłumaczenie dalekie jest od doskonałości. Słowa duszą się w zdaniach, ich szyk wydaje mi się często dziwny, jakby wstrzymywał frazę, szereg sformułowań mocno wątpliwych, a czasem zdarzają się ewidentne błędy, jak w zdaniu: „W moim przypadku ten rozdźwięk, odczuwany przez każdego dorosłego więźnia, póki jeszcze żył, a będący jednym z elementów wstrząsu, który z reguły w krótkim czasie ich druzgotał (…)”. Zdaję sobie sprawę, że nie wszystko mogę zrzucić na tłumacza, na pewno są obszary, sfery należące do ludzkiego doświadczenia lub związane ze światopoglądem, które stoją między mną a tekstem Kulki. Do niektórych jeszcze wrócę, ale najpierw chciałbym się zmierzyć z wymową zapisów z dziennika, które w pewnym stopniu odbiegają od reszty książki. Są zapisami snów i próbami ich interpretacji. Snów niepokojących, męczących, nawiązujących bezpośrednio do przeżyć obozowych, których to snów Kulka szuka sensu. Nigdzie wcześniej nie ujawnia swojej religijności, ale tu wkracza na teren metafizyki, mnie obcej i wywołującej irytację, bo jednak jest to metafizyka odwołująca się do wątpliwej, moim zdaniem, logiki. Inna sprawa, że ja tej logiki, tego sposobu myślenia, a może nawet tych obrazów po prostu nie rozumiem. Rzecz jasna, chodzi o powracające, dręczące pytanie o obecność Boga w czasach pieców. Pisze Kulka, że ojciec, który całe życie zajmował się Auschwitz i jego ofiarami, nieustannie to pytanie zadawał wszystkim: byłym członkom Sonderkommando, więźniom, ale też religijnym, ortodoksyjnym Żydom, którzy w czasie wojny żyli w Palestynie. Podobno religijne autorytety twierdziły, że takich pytań nie wolno zadawać, nigdzie i nigdy. I, jak rozumiem, Kulka uważa tak samo, zapisuje to zdanie jakby od siebie, choć stosując archaiczną stylizację (jaka tu jest rola tłumacza?): „ Zaiste nie wolno było zadawać tam (ani na wieki) tego pytania. Albowiem Bóg był, był obecny, również tam.” Przywołanie biblijnej historii Hioba samo się narzuca, tyle że do mnie żadna interpretacja, żadna symbolika tej opowieści nie przemawia. Ciekawe, że Kulka cytuje sformułowanie z Talmudu Babilońskiego „ Hiob nie istniał i jest tylko przypowieścią”, co by wskazywało, że i ludziom tkwiącym głęboko w wierze w moralny sens Pisma niełatwo było przyjąć dosłownie ten fragment. Ale kawałek dalej, już w swoim imieniu, formułuje myśl: „(…) to, co [Bóg] wypowiedział i dopuścił do istnienia – niezmienne prawo wielkiej śmierci i jego królestwo wtedy (…) dokąd wróciłem i dokąd w najróżniejsze sposoby nadal wracam we śnie i w rozmyślaniach – rzeczywiście istniało i nie było tylko przypowieścią.”Kulka twierdzi – tłumacząc swój sen – „Bóg (…) tam był”. Cierpiał i rozpaczał. Jest to, owszem, opis i interpretacja snu, ale nie ulega wątpliwości, że autor tę interpretację akceptuje. „Tam odczułem własnymi zmysłami Boga, który słowem stworzył świat, i był tam również ten drugi i jego królestwo, i był Kain, i była nieznośna rozpacz, którą Bóg czuł w swojej podobiźnie, rozpacz, której promieniowanie widziałem w mroku, gdy Bóg skulił się z bólu, w tym śnie, w czasie rzeczywistym wtedy i czasie teraźniejszym moim i Boga, w przestrzeniach metropolii śmierci”.Sam się sobie dziwię, że traktuję te słowa poważnie, a z drugiej strony, jak zawsze, nie czuję się uprawniony, by nie przyjąć ich inaczej jak z pokorą. Kulka był tam, w tej metropolii śmierci, w miejscu, gdzie panowało „niezmienne prawo śmierci”, „wielkiej śmierci”, która odsuwała w cień śmierć małą, przypadkową, choć też spotykaną codziennie, w postaci zgonów z głodu, chorób i wyczerpania. Ona tam był, ja nie, więc jak mogę oceniać jego refleksje, jego przekonania z tego doświadczenia wyniesione?Są w książce Kulki obrazy niepokojące, świadomie paradoksalne, które potrafię zrozumieć, choć przyjmuję je z trudem. Na przykład, że najpiękniejsze przeżycie autora z dzieciństwa to chwila, gdy na letnim, lazurowym niebie nad Auschwitz pojawiają się małe samolociki z towarzyszącymi im obłoczkami wybuchów pocisków, po czym znikają i niebo znów staje się ciche i spokojne. Taki pejzaż, który we wspomnieniu spycha w cień krematoria, druty kolczaste i kolumny idące na śmierć. Te obrazy, te terminy jak „metropolia śmierci” czy „prawo wielkiej śmierci” tworzą, jak pisze Kulka, jego własną, osobistą mitologię, i tym tłumaczy on fakt, że nie jest w stanie czytać wspomnień innych, tych wszystkich relacji obozowych, na podstawie których ci, którzy tego nie przeżyli, próbują sobie wyobrażać tamten świat. Kulka twierdzi, że odczuwa wobec literackich tekstów o Auschwitz wyłącznie obcość, jakby nie miały nic wspólnego z jego doświadczeniem. Szczerze mówiąc, nie umiem tego w pełni zrozumieć. Nie przekonuje mnie do końca przywołana w rozdziale „Rzeki nieprzebyte i brama prawa” w charakterze tłumaczenia Kafkowska przypowieść o Józefie K. stojącym przed bramą prawa, przeznaczoną, jak mówi strażnik, tylko dla niego. Owszem, ona mówi o samotności i jednostkowym losie każdego człowieka, ale właściwie dotąd nie spotkałem się z tak skrajnym myśleniem o egzystencji obozowej. Ale znowuż – nie mam prawa Kulce nie wierzyć.Nie wspomniałem dotąd w ogóle o całej warstwie wspomnieniowej, o faktach, które autor opisuje, a przecież jest ich niemało. Kulka przybył transportem z Terezina, razem matką zgłosili się dobrowolnie na wyjazd, i znalazł się w czymś, o czym wprawdzie słyszałem, ale jakoś zawsze były to bardzo suche informacje – w tzw. obozie rodzinnym. Tereziński transport nie poddano selekcji, nie rozdzielono rodzin, Niemcy nikogo nie ostrzygli ani nie przebrali w pasiaki. Takich transportów było kilka, każdy z nich mniej więcej po pół roku, już bez selekcji, poszedł do gazu. Kulka się uratował i dostał do „normalnego”, męskiego obozu. Nie bardzo rozumiano, jaki był zamiar hitlerowców, najbardziej prawdopodobną hipotezą była chęć pokazania delegacji Międzynarodowego Czerwonego Krzyża wzorowego, humanitarnego obozu. Ponieważ jednak udała się wcześniej maskarada w Terezinie i delegaci MCK wyjechali stamtąd usatysfakcjonowani, do wizytacji w Oświęcimiu ostatecznie nie doszło.Tak, mam z „Pejzażami metropolii śmierci” problem, ale im więcej czasu mija od przeczytania książki, tym więcej o niej myślę, zaglądam, coś sprawdzam. Nie mogę jej po prostu odłożyć na półkę.

  • Richard
    2019-03-12 04:46

    I've read more than a few Holocaust histories and memoirs. They are unfailingly wrenching. The journey from the ghetto to the crematorium is always a study in the systematic degradation of a people, and the gamut of abuse runs from the petty to the horrendous. The Nazis created and managed a method of monstrous behavior unparalleled in history. I'm squarely on the side that it should be required in the modern history curriculum of every school - as long as we have curricula and schools, and the way the world turns it makes you wonder.Otto Dov Kulka was 11 years old when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz. Common perception is that Auschwitz was a single camp where Jews (and all the other undesirable elements) were taken to be selected for work or death. Auschwitz was actually a city of death surrounded by suburbs of various functions. Auschwitz and its suburban camps were the author's Metropolis of Death, and with that label he explores the memories of his time there as if in a mythical land. Although Mr. Kulka is a renowned Holocaust historian and scholar, this is his only memoir, and he sees the past through a scrim of memory that softens the atrocious. It seems to me to be a necessary strategy. It's a way to make sense of incidents as senseless and surreal as singing the Ode to Joy as part of a children's choir at the selection site where the healthy were separated from the immediately doomed.None of us really see our childhoods clearly. Sifting through memory can only be an inexact excavation. Exploring, reflecting, and meditating upon trauma is a courageous act no matter how it's done. Mr. Kulka's method opens us up the strangeness of the events. (Think about Steven Spielberg's decision to film Schindler's List in black and white. It created a remove that allowed us to look more closely. Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death accomplishes the same by casting childhood, even in the camps, as a mythological and slightly hazy time.)All Holocaust books are difficult, this one is no different, but there is a poetry of remembrance here that pierces our defenses in a particularly astute way, and the poetry lingers beyond the facts.

  • Pirate
    2019-03-19 10:00

    On a par with Primo Levi's account of the unimagnable horrors of innocents being thrust into the nihilistic concentration/death camps. Different style and though a short tome the subject matter alone makes it a long read. Extremely moving -- the trip back to discover what happened to his mother especially so -- and by the end his father who also survived gets short shrift from a Rabbi in Israel when he understandably questions 'where was God?' amidst so much cruelty and misery. The Rabbi -- who was in what was then Palestine during WW II -- answers 'But that question (about God) is one that it is forbidden to ask'. Contrast that to the courage of the young woman about to enter the gas chamber who handed a kapo three poems she had written in Theresienstadt -- the only poems according to Kulka to survive from those that perished in Auschwitz from that camp -- and passed on to his father the next day. Suffice to leave with one verse from the poem 'We The Dead Accuse'.'And then we'll emerge, in awful ranks,a skull on our skulls and bony shanks;and we'll roar in the faces of all the peopleWe, the dead, accuse!'

  • Suzy
    2019-02-21 08:04

    This book was recommended as part of a reading spa I booked as a birthday treat. Although I read a lot of WW2 & holocaust fiction & non fiction, this small volume (100 pages) isn't something I would've picked up. It is a strange book, but rather profound. It has a poetic quality and the format changes including text, dreams, diary entries and poetry. Written by a holocaust survivor it doesn't try to tell a linear story. Instead it's a collection of thoughts, memories and reflections. The voice of the author really strikes through. It's the kind of book I immediately put back on my shelf after finishing as I know I want to read it again in the future. Rated 4 stars only because i think it is a little too inaccessible for the average reader (including myself here), but these are the real thoughts of the author and as such, have impact.

    2019-03-15 04:50

    Ler o relato de um sobrevivente da marcha nazista além de trazer um enorme sentimento de repúdio a tal política expansionista nazista, nos faz refletir o quão longe a maldade ideológica de um homem pode ir, assim fazendo milhares de pessoas inocentes morrerem. Um relato triste, realista e acima de tudo REAL, a respeito dos campos de concentração e do quão doentio era tal regime.

  • Marudamarudauda
    2019-03-19 12:51

    2.5/5Memoir very clearly written by a historian. Honest and dry. Very unfocused narrative.

  • Isaque Sousa Nunes
    2019-03-12 13:06

    Simplesmente incrível, sério, se você gosta de ler histórias reais sobre o holocausto essa obra é indispensável.

  • Mark
    2019-03-13 08:02

    DISCLAIMER: I received a free review copy of this title from the publisher in my day job capacity as a reviewer for Cheshire Today...Beauty in the midst of Auschwitz must seem a strange concept, but that is one of the many apparent paradoxes one might perceive in Otto Dov Kulka’s personal testament to the Holocaust.Certainly, as Kulka himself relays in ‘Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death’, the author is himself struck by the strangeness of the observation, yet as his own words testify “the blue of the sky in this land is many times stronger than any blue one can see anywhere else”. This was in Auschwitz; surrounded by so much senseless death, constrained by the bleak landscape of the camp, the colour blue takes on a whole new intensity.The strangeness is compounded by the strangest phenomenon of all, the family camp, so-called, where the boy Kulka found himself living amidst a strange discontinuity of normal family and cultural life, yet immersed at the very same time in the continuation of cultural and social living. In stark contrast to the by-now-familiar images of Auschwitz, here there were no striped uniforms, no shaven heads; there were choirs, and schools maintained, intellectual activity, a semblance of life. Again, paradoxical, contradictory, the way the inmates of the camp continued to cling to the norms and practices, one might say the very fabric of civilised society – indeed that they were allowed to – amidst the wastelands of death that lay all around them.But what was the family camp?You can read the rest of this review over at Cheshire Today.

  • Mike Clarke
    2019-03-22 08:42

    Prometheus in Hades: silence and desolation from horizon to horizon. Otto Dov Kulka, Czechoslovakian Jew, Holocaust survivor, eminent Israeli historian and memoirist of the cataclysm, writes slowly, sparingly and movingly of a return visit to Auchwitz, and the childhood memories he has been unable to shake off over a long, long life.It's a risk that in a book so rich and deep that image layers upon image, horror upon horror, until the reader is overwhelmed. Yet the author remains in control, dealing the vignettes with a masterly hand. You think enough has been written about the extermination of six million people, that Anne Frank's diary is sufficient memorial or that we all know enough about Hitler's perverted ideas? Given the rise of Holocaust denial, the far right and a generation of young people for whom the Third Reich is as real or unreal as the Spanish Inquisition or the Transatlantic slave trade, think again. Probably the most striking and emotive story is not Kulka's, it's the three poems, written by a young Czech Jewish woman of 20, and handed to an orderly in the form of a sheaf of papers as she was frogmarched into the gas chamber. Extraordinary and profoundly touching that these fragile artefacts - just a few thin sheets of wartime economy paper - could survive when millions perished. We, The Dead, Accuse!, Alien Grave and I Would Sooner Perish stand eloquent though inadequate testimony to the terrors of a world gone completely mad. Hashem yikom dam nekiim - God shall avenge the blood of the innocents. In Kulka, He may just have found His avenging angel.

  • Mark McKenny
    2019-03-02 07:36

    Is it natural to feel strange reviewing a book on the Holocaust? I guess, so I'll keep this as short as possible. In the introduction and first few pages Otto mentions that he never really felt the need to talk about his childhood and what happened, and that a lot of survivors feel the same way.So what makes some people stand up and speak out? Who knows. Is it good that they do? I think so. What does it offer? I'm not sure. Why do I personally, read books about this dark past? I really don't know. I guess I just need to know what happened, over and over, and hope we never go there again.All I can say about this book and collection of memories is that there are things that will stay with me forever, and there are things that are quickly forgotten. I don't think a lot of it was needed (for me personally at least) and I guess that's what I'm trying to say. I'm not sure what we're meant to get from this, but I'm glad it exists, and I'm glad I've read it. That's all.

  • M.R. Dowsing
    2019-03-21 08:40

    A tough one to review, this! It's quite an unusual kind of book - not quite autobiography, not straightforward history, either, but rather an Auschwitz survivor's reflections on his experience and the impact it's had on him, especially on a subconscious level. This is interspersed with photographs and other illustrations, and the book also features three amazing poems written by a young female prisoner who remains unknown. Prior to reading this, I did not know that the camp authorities had kept 5000 prisoners alive (under much better conditions than the rest) for the purposes of deception. The author's dream about Mengele struck me as profound, although it's hard to put into words exactly why... This is an interesting, poetic, haunting book.

  • Angelin
    2019-03-19 05:05

    I personally feel that many other books about the holocaust and experiences in Auschwitz will be very different from this one, though I have not read much on the subject. However, judging from what I have read this book is organized in a very intentional manner.In the first section, the author recounts the main parts of the book, remaining objective in his subjectivity, and does his best to portray truth.The following section of his diary entries showed a more vulnerable side, and is more subjective.And the last section in the appendix, an academically written paper.The language throughout the book was careful, and the author is trying to tell the truth as much as possible to the reader, as well as to come to terms with something about his past.Beautifully written.

  • John Bleasdale
    2019-03-24 07:46

    FascinatingPoetry is not supposed to be possible following the Holocaust according to Adorno, but perhaps narrative is even more problematic. The structure that narrative gives, the teleological tendency belies the senselessness of the Holocaust. Even the word Holocaust gives a supplement of meaning which is an insult to the moral chaos of the event. Kulka's personal account of his experience I'm the children's block insists on its own discrete reality and validity. He wants to speak for no one but himself and he wants to talk too no one but himself in a way. He is not interested in giving an account "so that you feel you were there". In fact he is struggling to sift his own memories from the mythology that he has himself built up.

  • Naomi
    2019-03-22 06:42

    Historian Otto Dov Kulka's reflections add measurably to the body of first person accounts of Shoah-experience. Distinct from traditional memoir, the author separates his work from both historical sciences and true memoir, but shares measured memories and meditations from his perspective as an older adult. The craft of the work alone and the subject matter alone are reasons to read, creating a space for the reader to seek understanding and to join in meditating upon Auschwitz-Birkenau, Theresienstadt, the miracle of survival in perishing times, and how we remember. Recommended for spiritual writing and reading groups.

  • Steve Cunningham
    2019-03-17 13:00

    This is in many ways a rather odd book. It has no over-arching narrative structure, and offers no interpretation of the events recounted within. The main body of the book is drawn from memories the author dictated on to cassettes over a period of several decades, resulting in a fragmented, disconnected and in places dream-like narrative voice. However this does not diminish the book, but rather enhances its power. It is intensely personal, and that also serves to heighten the horror contained within; however it is not a "dark" book despite all this; there is, somehow, an aura of hope at the heart of it.

  • Steven
    2019-03-01 10:03

    Rather than produce a straightforward memoir, Dov Kulka has attempted to recreate the memories and images which haunt him in a poetic and stream of consciousness manner. It's an interesting and personal approach to the subject matter which I felt the author didn't quite pull off convincingly, resulting in a disjointed and uneven work. Still, there are some powerful passages and recollections from the mind of a 10 year old thrown into the most horrifying of situations, and the effect that Auschwitz has had on his entire life is plain to see.

  • Muireann
    2019-03-10 10:38

    It was strange but completely unsurprising to turn a page and encounter an image from Austerlitz - this book is essentially the unspoken negative space at the heart of Sebald's work. It's short but incredibly powerful.

  • Topping & Company Booksellers of Ely
    2019-02-26 12:39

    'Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death' is a beautifully written journey through Otto Dov Kulka's mind and experience. Tragic and moving, it is easily comparable to Primo Levi's work, but it's informal style somehow makes the story more personal. Unique, this is 99 pages of purely intimate rawness.Becca

  • Eva Ortmark
    2019-03-10 08:44

    An amazingly light book about the worst. An elderly Jewish scholar happens to be close to the death camp where he spent time during his adolescence. He decides to return for the first time. And this is his story. Beautifully written, extremely distanced and yet emotional. But never sentimental or heavy. I recommend this book warmly to everyone!

  • Amanda Lynn
    2019-03-12 07:58

    Landscapes of The Metropolis of Death is very deep and moving. I am grateful my professor assigned this book. Many books bought for school are left sold at the end of each semester, but I will keep this in my heart and on my shelves to read and share with others for years to come.

  • K's Bognoter
    2019-03-22 06:01

    En historikers dybt personlige og svært afrystelige bekendelser af sine barndomserindringer, drømme og forestillinger fra koncentrationslejren Auschwitz i 1944.Læs min anmeldelse her:

  • Leonel Caraciki
    2019-03-23 06:53

    Um grande livro. Não é tão marcante como Primo Levi mas o estranhamento do autor é evidente - é um homem que fala de memórias de criança. Mais interessante ainda é o fato de que é um especialista em Nazismo falando sobre sua experiência de sobrevivente.

  • Nicholas Hedges
    2019-02-23 07:53

    A stunning book by a man imprisoned in Auschwitz as a child. The chapter titled 'The Blue Skies of Summer' in which he describes his 'beautiful' childhood landscape in Birkenau is particularly arresting.

  • Wilde Sky
    2019-03-09 09:49

    A man describes how he survived in the ‘family camp’ at Auschwitz.I found the narrative confusing / rambling. The only section that made any sense to me was the appendix.