Into the Tunnel
The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931-1943
By Götz Aly
(Metropolitan Books, Hardcover, 9780805079272, 144pp.)
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A generous feat of biographical sleuthing by an acclaimed historian rescues one child victim of the Holocaust from oblivion When the German Remembrance Foundation established a prize to commemorate the million Jewish children murdered during the Holocaust, it was deliberately named after a victim about whom nothing was known except her age and the date of her deportation: Marion Samuel, an eleven-year-old girl killed in Auschwitz in 1943. Sixty years after her death, when Götz Aly received the award, he was moved to find out whatever he could about Marion's short life and restore this child to history.
In what is as much a detective story as a historical reconstruction, Aly, praised for his "formidable research skills" (Christopher Browning), traces the Samuel family's agonizing decline from shop owners to forced laborers to deportees. Against all odds, Aly manages to recover expropriation records, family photographs, and even a trace of Marion's voice in the premonition she confided to a school friend: "People disappear," she said, "into the tunnel."
A gripping account of a family caught in the tightening grip of persecution, Into the Tunnel is a powerful reminder that the millions of Nazi victims were also, each one, an individual life.
Götz Aly, the author of Hitler’s Beneficiaries and Architects of Annihilation, among other books, is one of the most respected historians of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. He has been a visiting fellow at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and currently teaches at the Free University of Berlin.
"Inspired… Aly mines a staggering amount of data to great effect."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A book of unparalleled vividness and power."
"A slim but powerful record… Into the Tunnel pieces fragments of an ordinary life into an extraordinary fabric of remembrance. By restoring one girl's history, Götz Aly helps us bear witness to the unique fate of one innocent consumed by the Holocaust."
"Aly ingeniously reconstructs the life and death of a German-Jewish girl in this impressive piece of detective work… His account puts a face on the tragedy of the Holocaust."
"A distinguished and affecting account."