The Broken Cross

Peter Z. Vogler, Author Danville Creek Publishing $24.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-9656650-3-2
Much has been written and said about how the horror of the Holocaust defies the resources of realism to depict it. Very few writers, however, have the vision to address the Holocaust with anything other than realism (David Grossman succeeded in See: Under Love). Vogler is not one of them. Clumsy attempts at magical realism in the form of angelic visitations and prattlings about the ""other realm"" ruin this first novel. Zishe Holtz arrives in the free city of Danzig in 1931, hoping to escape the pogroms of his native Poland. Blond and blue-eyed, he has no trouble passing as a Christian and finding work. As he climbs the rungs to power (eventually managing a factory that produces uniforms for Nazi soldiers), he rubs elbows with Nazi bigwigs, including Hitler and Himmler, and begins dating the boss's daughter. But Zishe's guilt over denying his Jewish heritage gnaws at him, especially when the persecution of Jews picks up. Slowly, thanks to angels who appear to him in ethereal visions and to Jesus (who talks to him), Zishe develops a plan to ease his conscience and help Jews escape from Europe. Over time, Zishe enables more than 100,000 Jews to relocate to Palestine, Central and South America. The writing is flat when it's not unpalatably sentimental, but that's the least of the book's problems. Among Vogler's most ill-conceived ideas is his conflation of the mass murder of the Jews with the crucifixion of Jesus. It does no honor to Jewish Holocaust victims--or to history or to truth--to shoehorn their deaths into the metaphor of Christian sacrifice. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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