Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Review: The Forger, by Cioma Schonhaus

A story of survival in wartime Berlin

Schonhaus’ description of the horrible conditions that prevailed in wartime Berlin is quite good. In The Forger he provided this reader a sense of the place that was convincing. One can see that the author knows Berlin. However, it is a story that has been written many times over. The "Last Jews In Berlin," by Leonard Gross, comes to mind. Being presented in the first person increases the story’s poignancy. Schonhaus' characterization of himself is quite credible, and it must be assumed that the original German version must read well. Unfortunately, the English translation is not as good as it could be. Finally, Cioma's crossing the Suisse border was rendered as being much too easy. The reader gets the impression that the author was in a hurry to complete the story.


  1. I agree. I recommend to those who can that they read the original German version. The English translation, although quite smooth, fails to convey the depth of the anguish and hopelessnes under which Berliners, Gentiles and Jews alike, lived during those terrible times.

  2. Yes. The original German version reads very well. The English translation, although reasonably well done, lacks the depth only original writing can provide.

  3. Horst you have to go back to Berlin and enjoy the Berliner Luft.