Video about the project

Friday, 27 September 2013

Closing in

The realities of the life of an undesirable person are beginning to hit Clara. She has to travel third class. She must dress sombrely, in second hand clothes. She experiences hunger and cold. She watches other people suffer. She begins to feel her age. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The real dilemma

We’re moving rapidly into the Holocaust part of the story. The Hilfsklasse class has now received a second visit. Clara has her marching orders. She will now move to Rexingen. She will live amongst Jews even though she no longer considers herself Jewish. She loses her name and becomes Klara Sarah. She has to leave her home.   
Now I’m facing the real crux of this story. How can I make it palatable? If I do make it palatable am I in danger of sanitizing it?
I’m actually gradually discovering that there is an explanation as to why Clara did not escape. The story is uncovering what stopped her reacting to her situation in a more predictable way. Undoubtedly she had a great sense of loyalty towards the Hilfsklasse. She has a lot of faith in human nature. She is extremely optimistic. Surely it can’t get any worse. It has got to start getting better soon. She isn’t really Jewish. She has a sound religious faith.  
So now I give her a setting in Rexingen. Some of this still crosses over with The House on Schellberg Street. After that, though, it gets more challenging.  

Friday, 6 September 2013

Towards persecution

Now it begins in earnest. Clara has to sell her house. The SS arrive to make sure the transaction has gone through. World War II has started. They all worry about rationing and whether the young men will be called up to fight. I’m still in the autumn of 1939 so there’s still a hope that “it will all be over by Christmas”.
We’re moving gradually towards the darker times. Soon Clara will have to go and live in Rexingen. She will live there in poverty but at least she will be free. Then she will have to move on to Theriesenstadt and Treblinka. Will she at last accept that things are bad?  Soon she will bump into Hani at the Nordbahnhof in Stuttgart. I’m minded to make her try to stay optimistic for the young girl’s sake but I think at last in this scene she is beginning to see through the Nazi’s plans. She will still have some hope. And she will continue to see the best in everyone.
Holocaust stories are particularly difficult. If they’re too dark there is little motivation for the reader. If they are too sanitized there is no justice for the victims. A tricky balance.