Contents: They All Went Out to Battle (novel); The End of Days (diary); a short story; the novellas In the Sanatorium and Facing the Sea. For these two novellas, see the relevant pages on this website.
They All Went Out to Battle
[Adapted and translated from the author's draft in Yiddish by Menakhem Perry]
Disguised as the fictional painter Rudolf Weicart, Vogel writes here about the years 1939-1941, when he was imprisoned with other Jews and aliens in Nazi-occupied France. Weicart and his friends are transferred from camp to camp, and each camp arouses nostalgia for the one just left. Vogel drives home the macabre joke played on the inmates by telling the story with the blackest humor. Arbitrary decreesar e announced and revoked. Committees meet but never reach decisions, meaningless interrogations begin and end. Conditions for release are posted but can never be met. Weicart’s diary reflects the loss of a sense of time, the erasure of self. Eventually, Weicart/Vogel is released.
A very rare literary talent… The oppressive conditions of detention are presented with great accuracy; so are the personalities and quirks of fellow prisoners. Written in a clever, calm style without forced surges, the French internment camp -- a secondary theater of war -- reflects the terrible absurdities of contemporary consciousness.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Probably the earliest example of camp literature that we have… The account of [Vogel’s] internment reads like a dress rehearsal for what would follow.