The Last Survivor

Legacies of Dachau

By Timothy Ryback
Vintage, Paperback, 9780679758266, 208pp.

Publication Date: November 14, 2000

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Description

In The Last Survivor, journalist Timothy Ryback explores the surprising--and often disturbing--ways the citizens of Dachau go about their lives in a city the rest of us associate with gas chambers and mass graves. A grandmother recalls the echo of wooden shoes on cobblestone, the clip-clop of inmates marched from boxcars to barracks under the cover of night. A mother-to-be opts to deliver in a neighboring town, so that her child's birth certificate will not be stamped DACHAU. An "SS baby," now middle-aged, wonders about the father he never knew. And should you visit Dachau, you will meet Martin Zaidenstadt, an 87 year-old who accosts tourists with a first-hand account of the camp before its liberation in 1945. Beautifully written, compassionate, wise, The Last Survivor takes us to a place that bears the mark of Cain--and a people unwilling to be defined by the past, yet painfully unable to forget.




About the Author
Timothy W. Ryback is director of the Salzburg Seminar, a forum for global dialogue based in Salzburg, Austria. Ryback has written on Euro-pean politics and culture for a variety of publications including the "Atlantic, The New Yorker," and "The New York Times Magazine."



Praise For The Last Survivor

"Elegantly written without ever neglecting the magnitude of horror that underlies every gesture, breath and nuance in Dachau." --The New York Times Book Review

"A brilliantly written tone poem in which identities and facts slip and slide into the abyss of memory." --The Baltimore Sun

"Ryback's insights come in haunting prose: heading down a long gravel-path at Dachau is 'like walking on crushed brittle bones.'" --Detroit Free-Press

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