Thomas Weiss

Uncomfortable truths

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With The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell has written an important book (Books, Socialist Review, May 2009).

It presents many details of the Nazi crimes, and especially the Holocaust, to a wider audience.

This is why critics in Germany, especially from the mainstream left, were not amused when the book was published in German in 2008.

Many critiques were quite ridiculous. The book was written in a "pre-Proustian" literary style, one critic complained. In a social democratic magazine there was a discussion whether Littell was right to describe these SS officers as people who could play the violin, sing Schumann songs or quote antique authors in ancient Greek or Latin.

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