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Last Waltz in Vienna by George Clare
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Last Waltz in Vienna (1980)

by George Clare

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"Last Waltz in Vienna" is a memoir by a Jewish man who was involved with the events leading up to, and involving, World War II in Vienna, Austria.
As much as I wanted to enjoy it, the author's writing style often gave me the feeling that I was being left out. Once in awhile, there were certain moments of warmth that shone through the rest of the text. These were mainly childhood stories about family and everyday experiences that you would expect when growing up. It was here that the author seemed to write most realistically.
However, the other 95% of the book simply never did anything for me. The politics, as viewed by an actual, normal witness of the events, were no doubt as accurate as could find, but strung together clumsily.
I did not enjoy this one. ( )
1 vote joririchardson | Dec 19, 2010 |
There are many books about the fate of the jews in the second world war - and so there should be, as there are so many stories to tell. Clare's is a very interesting one, as he places the genocide in the context of a long and proud family history - which makes the suffering he and his family endured all the more painful to read about. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jun 3, 2010 |
[Last waltz in Vienna] begins with a city filled with music & companionship . The Klaar family is respected, well-to-do & the future seems bright for its young son, George. With WW1 comes the collapse of the Hapsburg empire. Vienna is still the capitol, but its empire & the security of the Hapsburg rulers (who often used harsh measures but kept well-established order) has fallen on uneasy times. Walzes arte still played, but beneath the music there is rising bitterness & disillusion.
The fortunes of the Klaar family decline bit by bit as the air of the city becomes a mere facade of its former glory and the hardships & discontent of the underclass break through the surface.
Young George continues his carefree life. He is the only son, the only child- his parents adore him. The family is Jewish, though non-observant they are still victims of the mass propadanda that the defeat of the Great War & the loss of the empire was caused by the "stab-in-the-back" of the rich Jews. Still the music plays on, everyone believing that Hitler & his gang are a passing problem that the world with its great democracies will soon solve. Meanwhile, bit by bit, their way of life is reduced. When the anschluss arrives, the Klaars are forced to leave the country. But they put their belongings in storage, still believing that the day will come when Vienna will once again become the city of walzes.
There is humor in this story, but as the reader is aware of the tragic outcome, this knowledge haunts the pages. We hope that somehow the Klaars will escape the forces of history.
This is a very good story of a people who cannot or will not believe that the disaster creeping closer every day will affect their innocent lives. ( )
  MarianV | Jun 1, 2009 |
On Saturday 26 February, 1938, seventeen-year-old Georg Klaar took his girlfriend List to his first ball at the Konzerthaus. His family were proudly Austrian. They were also Jewish. Just two weeks later came the Anschluss. A family had been condemned to death by genocide. This Pan edition of George Clare's incredibly affecting account of Nazi brutality towards the Jews includes a previously unpublished post-war letter from his Uncle to a friend who had escaped to Scotland. This moving epistle passes on the news of those who had survived and the many who had been arrested, deported, murdered or left to die in concentration camps, and those who had been orphaned or lost their partners or children.
  antimuzak | Oct 24, 2005 |
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For Ernst and Stella Klaar, my parents, and for their grandchildren, Sylvia, Andrew, Jacqueline and Julie
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"Klaar!" There was a note of rising anger in Sergeant Lowe's voice.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 033049077X, Paperback)

On February 26, 1938, 17-year-old Georg Klaar took his girlfriend Lisl to his first ball at the Konzerthaus. His family was proudly Austrian; they were also Jewish, and two weeks later came the German Anschluss. This incredibly affecting account of Nazi brutality towards the Jews includes a previously unpublished post-war letter from the author’s uncle to a friend who had escaped to Scotland. This moving epistle passes on the news of those who had survived and the many who had been arrested, deported, murdered, or left to die in concentration camps, and those who had been orphaned or lost their partners or children. It forms a devastating epilogue to what has been hailed as a classic of holocaust literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:49 -0400)

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