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And Thus I Have Declared

Orit Shaham-Gover
Orit Shaham-Gover`s second novel is a family story with a rich, dramatic plot, whose three narrators are all children of Holocaust survivors. It is also the story of their parents` lives, crammed with secrets and lies that are partly revealed one fateful Sabbath in 1995 when Ernst Bodenheimer`s will is read out. Bodenheimer, who built his home in Tel Aviv in the mid-1940s and raised his two children to love German culture, was actually born in Poland as Aaron Grossman. He studied in Germany before the war and married Eva, a German girl whose parents were admirers of Hitler. Eva cut herself off from her family and followed Ernst to pre-state Israel. For many years, she concealed her origins, even from her two children, and repeatedly told them that "people should marry their own kind." And indeed, Edna - Ernst and Eva`s rather aloof daughter - made a marriage of convenience to a man of her own class. However, she continued to dream about the "noble savage" with whom she fell in love in her youth: a boy from Tunisia who - in accordance with Eva`s saying - preferred a provincial girl from his own moshav.
In Tel Aviv, and still denying his Polish origins, Ernst tried to establish a "little Germany" and live in it as a German Jew who had landed unwillingly in the Middle East. But his past continued to haunt him through his sister Chaikeh, a Holocaust survivor, and through Ita, his youthful love from Poland with whom he had a son, Giora. Giora only discovers his father`s real identity when Ernst`s will is read. Esty, Chaikeh`s daughter by Ya`akov Buchman, will perhaps never know that her mother was married to another man, and that their children were murdered along with their father in the Holocaust. Chaikeh, too, preferred to keep her past a secret.
This novel is filled with unfulfilled love, missed romantic opportunities and marriages of compromise. It deals with major conflicts faced by the Jewish people during the 20th century, and with their consequences.


I had a hard time putting the book down… As she already showed us in her first novel, Shaham-Gover knows the secret – how to spread rich, intriguing and dramatic plots with epic touches.
Yedioth Ahronoth
 
Although she herself is not the child of Holocaust survivors, Shaham-Gover enters the souls of this “second generation” in a natural way... It is very authentic - leaves the reader with food for thought.
Maariv
 

Shaham-Gover And Thus I Have Declared
Title And Thus I Have Declared
Author’s Last Name Shaham-Gover
Author's First Name Orit
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2005
No. Pages 362 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) U-Vati Al He-Chatum
Representation Represented by ITHL

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