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Walk the Dark Streets

Review

Walk the Dark Streets

With WALK THE DARK STREETS, Edith Baer continues the story of Eva Bentheim begun in her award-winning novel A FROST IN THE NIGHT. It's 1933, and everything around Eva is changing rapidly. A Nazi flag now flies atop Thalsdadt city hall, and one by one the rights and privileges of Eva, her family, and friends are irrevocably being stripped away.

In school she is banished to the back of the classroom and pointedly excused during Rassenkunde, Hitler's newly instituted "Aryan Folk and Race Science" lessons. Overnight, her best friend Thea and her family disappear. Her uncle is taken away and beaten and maimed for life. Her father's beloved bookstore is closed because he refuses to sell Nazi propaganda. Her grandfather is barred from the neighborhood tavern because he's a Jew. The family paper goods store is destroyed on Kristalnacht. Food is scarce, borders are closing, and her friends and relatives are desperately casting about for entry into any country that will take them.

The one positive in Eva's life is her developing romance with Arno, a young musician with his own problems. Arno's mother is Jewish, and his father is a famous artist whose work has been labeled "degenerate" by the Nazis. Arno's only protection is his uncle who's in thick with the Nazis --- but even his protection is tenuous. When Eva's despondent and ill father is rounded up in the dead of night, it is Arno who wrests his release from this dishonest yet well connected uncle.

Following her father's return, Eva's parents finally come to terms with the fact that they'll never get out of Germany as a family. No country will accept their requests to emigrate with her father's health in such peril. They decide that Eva must leave the country without them. It's 1940 before Eva's mother finally secures the proper papers for her daughter's departure.

By novel's end, Eva has lost her youth, her family, her friends, and her country. But what she has is her life --- and through her, her parents will live on. Lucid and lyrical to the end, WALK THE DARK STREETS is Holocaust literature at its finest.

Reviewed by Tammy L. Currier on October 28, 1998

Walk the Dark Streets
by Edith Baer

  • Publication Date: October 28, 1998
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • ISBN-10: 0374382298
  • ISBN-13: 9780374382292