The great Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld just passed away. He delivered to his readers and the world the last waltzing tour of a scene waiting for catastrophe to strike: “Badenheim 1939.”.
Resting on gentle hills, colored with roses and lilacs, the small town of Badenheim is the ideal setting. You have fun, there are strawberries with cream in the fashionable patisserie, Jews exchange gossip, quarrel quietly, flirt. Then – unexplainable restrictions for Jews are announced, mail no longer arrives, telephones are silent, there is talk of a “transfer” to Poland. Appelfeld wrote this marvelous constant of human history, the act of stunning that precedes the great catastrophes.
But today, Europe itself risks being turned into a Badenheim.