Homecoming by Joseph Wechsberg
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1946. First edition. Hardcover. 117 pages ; 17 cm. $1.50 dust jacket. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
That this is an adorably written book no one who has read Looking For a Bluebird will need to be told. But this story of the return of the native, an American of European birth, to the town of his youth is a lot more. Joseph Wechsberg, of Czechoslovakia but an American soldier, comes back to his home town in Moravia, now in the Russian zone of occupation. His account of his trip and of what he found is told in quiet understatement. But while the tone is light, sometimes actually amusing, there lies underneath this story the tragedy of millions of Europeans.
Wechsberg's family home and the synagogue he had worshipped in as a child were gone when he got back. No one could answer his questions until, to his happy surprise, he found members of his wife's family living among the rubble. They were hungry, fairly healthy, and eager for news of their daughter in America. Even they could tell him very little about his own family. Taken away . . . forced-labor battalions . . . no records . . . blankness.
A shorter version of this vivid human document appeared in the New Yorker.
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