Frau Doktor Saur turned out to be a lively teacher, and my siblings liked her, even quiet Ilse, whose own meager store of liveliness was long ago used up. Ilse’s developing a kind of re-
ligious melancholia. Besides spending hours with the Bible or praying in the gloomy church, she often wanders off into the graveyard to lay flowers on the mounds of all the unacquainted dead—she likes them better than she likes the living. She al-ways wears a gold cross pendant on a chain around her neck. She never plays, she never runs, she scarcely even speaks unless to answer questions. And when she eats, she does so with a slow and inward concentration, as though she’s saying grace before each bite. In a life of melancholic austerity, Ilse allows herself just one luxury: she has hair ribbons of different colors—red, blue, yellow, green and black—and wears a different color every day in the braids of her glossy long black hair.
No one’s realized it yet, but she is quietly splitting up. Her soul’s as divided as my mother’s face, although her own face is going to remain smooth and Madonna-like until the day she dies. The trouble is, she believes what Nazis say about the Jews. And what the New Testament says about them too. Didn’t the Jews kill Our Lord? It’s all there in the Bible. Aren’t they degen-erate and dangerous? It’s there in her schoolbooks, in the papers and on the wireless (no cinema in Heimstatt yet). Hasn’t her own mother tried to escape her Jewishness by becoming Christian? But she isn’t really Christian at all; Ilse can see she no longer be-lieves it. Of course not—she can’t escape the taint in her blood, the taint that’s contaminated Ilse’s own blood too. Sometimes, when she glances at her mother’s, well, yes, disturbingly semi-hooded eye, she shivers. There, she feels, there on her mother’s own face, is that cunning and sinister expression which the pa-pers and the posters all depict. Oh yes, Ilse’s soul’s divided all right. She knows the Jews are evil, but she’s half a Jew herself.
Title: The Kaminsky Cure
Author: Christopher New
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
The Kaminsky Cure is a poignant yet comedic novel of a half Jewish/half Christian family caught up in the machinery of Hitler’s final solution. The matriarch, Gabi, was born Jewish but converted to Christianity in her teens. The patriarch, Willibald, is a Lutheran minister who, on one hand is an admirer of Hitler, but on the other hand, the conflicted father of children who are half-Jewish. Mindful and resentful of her husband’s ambivalence, Gabi is determined to make sure her children are educated, devising schemes to keep them in school even after learning that any child less than 100% Aryan will eventually be kept from completing education. She even hires tutors who are willing to teach half-Jewish children and in this way comes to hire Fraulein Kaminsky who shows Gabi how to cure her frustration and rage: to keep her mouth filled with water until the urge to scream or rant has passed.
Christopher New was born in England and was educated at Oxford and Princeton Universities. Philosopher as well as novelist, he founded the Philosophy Department in Hong Kong University, where he taught for many years whilst writing The China Coast Trilogy (Shanghai, The Chinese Box and A Change of Flag) and Goodbye Chairman Mao, as well as The Philosophy of Literature. He now divides his time between Europe and Asia and has written novels set in India (The Road to Maridur), Egypt (A Small Place in the Desert) and Europe (The Kaminsky Cure). His books have been translated into Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese. His latest novel, Gage Street Courtesan, appeared in March 2013.
Buy on Delphinium Books
Buy on Amazon