Thursday, 10 October 2013
22 August 1942
Now I really am getting to the crucial points in this story. This the date on which Clara is transported to Theresienstadt from Stuttgart. The Jews to be transported were gathered at the Killesberg exhibition grounds. I’ve almost finished writing this scene. It is the last crossover with The House on Schellberg Street. The writing has convinced me that Clara was still not absolutely certain of her fate. Even now she remains hopeful.
The Killesberg still has a big outdoor exhibition site. When I was a student in Stuttgart in 1973 I mainly remember it as being a pleasant enough park. For some reason, though, I didn’t like it. There was no logic to this at all. Was I picking up some bad atmosphere form the place? Or had I actually come across the story of its past and forgotten it again and this was my subconscious telling me this?
The Zeichen der Erinnerung web site gives some information about the transports and a quite interesting account by a German eye witness who saw the transportees depart. It leaves us wondering still: did they know or didn’t they know? Clara’s transport is not mentioned here but it is on the memorial at the Nordbahnhof.
Now I have to deal with the journey to Theresienstadt, life there, and then the transport to Treblinka. I’m not doing any scenes at Treblinka. The final scene will be Clara’s granddaughter, Renate, finding the letter that she wrote but couldn’t send from Rexingen.
I shall put notes at the end of the book about what we think happened to her and how her life ended. We do know though that she was taken to Treblinka. Until we found out about eighteen months ago the family had thought she went to Auschwitz.
It’s a little shocking that I’m so near the end of the book. It’s perhaps going to come out a little shorter than I’d intended. I do have a couple of extra scenes that I might put in but this must be because they’re necessary, not just to make the book longer. I’ll soon be into editing and redrafting.