In Nazi Germany, young Manfred is hardly aware of the influence that draws him into the existing political system. After the War he changes his name and builds up a new career, starting a family, first in the States, later in Britain. While his friends and family have no idea of his activities during the War, his daughter Nora and his grandson Andrew, being interested in recent history, begin to suspect their (grand-) father’s dark secret.
How far does moral responsibility go? Can really heavy guilt ever be expiated in Dostoyevsky’s sense or is there no hope for atonement by later generations? Is it ever too late to learn fundamental lessons from political developments?
He got the message of her pregnancy, after which he wrote back several times, but with decreasing frequency until, about two months before her confinement, his letters stopped altogether. He never acknowledged to be the father of her child.
Apart from his apparent withdrawal from their relationship, there was another problem which worried her a great deal. It was the reference made by the authorities. They referred to Manfred Weidmann as a future officer. Also, in his letters he no longer mentioned anything about politics. That might be because of the general fear of the Nazi régime among the people who could see more clearly what was going on in the country, but Anna had a bad feeling about his withdrawal. She feared they might make a Nazi sympathizer out of him at that school. After all, everybody referred to it as an elitist school where only the most gifted students were accepted. She knew that Manfred was brilliant in every subject at school, but the suspicion began to creep into her brain that qualities like “gifted” or “brilliant” these days might only refer to complete subjection to Nazi ideology. There were rumours about Pirna to the effect that proper Nazi hardliners were bred there. If they thought a young man was pliable and gullible enough and showed academic talent at the same time, he was the right material for their brainwash. From Manfred’s earliest letters, Anna had gathered that the school was led like a military camp. There was a lot of drill and indoctrination. But gradually he stopped telling her about such things as time went on.”
About the Author
Rudolph Bader was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1948. At university, he read English and German literatures and linguistics as well as Islamic studies and near eastern languages. He has lived and worked as a researcher and university professor in many countries including Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. Under his German name, he published widely in the field of postcolonial literatures, he translated Shakespeare, worked as a book reviewer and a theatre director, and he has always been very active in teacher training and in various intercultural projects.
The Prison of Perspective was Rudolph Bader’s first novel. He is currently writing his third novel. Today, he lives in Sussex and in Switzerland.
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