Across the Dark River (1940)


"These Are Times When a Man Cannot Just Tell A Story...
For Fear of His Life or the Lives of Others"

Mendelssohn, Peter. Across the Dark River. New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1940.

Octavo. Hardcover. Early Edition.

Extremely rare early edition of this compelling novel about a real-life horror of the Holocaust, the abandonment of Austrian Jewish refugees on an island in the middle of the Danube, in the original dust jacket. Based on a little known true story about the pre-World War II persecution of the Jewish people in Europe, this incredibly rare novel (in any edition) concentrates on the plight of Austrian refugees who were abandoned on a sandy island in the middle of the Danube. "Peter de Mendelssohn's book Across the Dark River is a seismographic work of the political and social developments of the time and a representation of 'politics as reflected in literature.' The German-British author and journalist saw himself as a political writer. His novel is based on historical facts: The Nazis in Burgenland implemented their policies particularly swiftly after coming to power in March 1938. Even before the 'Reichskristallnacht', namely in mid-April 1938, the Jewish inhabitants of Kittsee and the neighbouring community of Pama were taken from their homes in the night, expropriated and abandoned on a sandy island in the Danube. Inhabitants of the Czech village of Devín found the refugees and took them in temporarily. Jewish aid organisations in Bratislava finally succeeded in enabling the deported Kittsee Jews to emigrate to various host countries. Mendelssohn published the novel as early as 1939 in New York, but his voice remained unheard, as did other admonishing reports" (National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism). The almost unobtainable first edition was published in 1939; this is an early edition. Owner signature dated 1942. Book fine, dust jacket beautiful and near-fine with only light rubbing to extremities.

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