With storm troppers battering against his door, Otto Silbermann is forced to flee through the back door of his own home. He emerges onto streets brimming over with violence: it is Kristallnacht and synagogues are being burnt, Jews rounded up and their businesses destroyed. Turned away from establishments he had long patronised, betrayed by friends and colleagues, Otto finds his life as a respected businessman has dissolved overnight. Desperately trying to conceal his Jewish identity, he takes train after train across Germany in a race to escape this homeland that is no longer home.
Born in 1915, Ulrich Boschwitz wrote The Passenger at breakneck speed in 1938. He had already left Germany in 1935 for Oslo and later settled in England where, despite his Jewish background he was interned as a German enemy alien once war broke out. He was shipped to Australia and although allowed to return to England in 1942 his ship was torpedoed by a German submarine, and he was killed along with all 362 passengers. He was twenty-seven. His novel lay forgotten for decades and was only published for the first time in 2018. The English translation appeared in 2021 and Boschwitz has been compared to Thomas Mann, Heinrich Boll and Hans Fallada.
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