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Начало, или Прекрасная пани Зайденман

In the Nazi occupied Warsaw of Irma Seidenman a young Jewish widow possesses two attributes that can spell the difference between life and death she has blue eyes and blond hair

  • Title: Начало, или Прекрасная пани Зайденман
  • Author: Andrzej Szczypiorski
  • ISBN: 9785751607517
  • Page: 296
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the Nazi occupied Warsaw of 1943, Irma Seidenman, a young Jewish widow, possesses two attributes that can spell the difference between life and death she has blue eyes and blond hair.

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      Published :2019-09-09T10:03:44+00:00

    About "Andrzej Szczypiorski"

    1. Andrzej Szczypiorski

      Born in Warsaw in 1924, Szczypiorski was a journalist and novelist He took part in the Warsaw Uprising and was imprisoned after the fall of the Uprising in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp He died on 16 May 2000.He began working as a journalist in 1946 Since the appearance of his first collection of stories in 1955, he had published than 20 volumes of novels, reportage, newspaper columns, essays and sketches Szczypiorski aligned himself with the democratic opposition in the late 1970s, being interned during Martial Law 1981 1982 and then, in 1989, being elected Senator holding office until 1991 After resigning from an active political role, he became one of the country s most highly respected columnists, as well as a moral and intellectual authority.Szczypiorski s novels, like his newspaper columns, are predominated by two issues contemporary Polish German relations and the moral and political conflicts of recent decades He has made his mark as a mediator engaged in improving relations among the Polish, German, and Jewish peoples He won enormous renown for his novel Poczatek The Beginning, known in Germany and elsewhere as The Beautiful Mrs Seidenman , in which he depicted the different attitudes of Poles, Jews and Germans during the Nazi Occupation This novel became a great success above all but not only in the German speaking countries winning the Austrian State Prize for European Literature as well as the Nelly Sachs Prize Szczypiorski saw literature as a kind of mission entrusted to writers by society Szczypiorski tried to remain true to this calling in both his fiction and his autobiographical writing, like From the Martial Law Notebook, published in London in 1983 The first edition of The Beautiful Mrs Seidenman, which came out in Paris in 1986, was an immediate success It was followed by Night, Day and Night, a fascinating study of the mechanism of political provocation Next came the convincing psychological portrait Self Portrait with Woman 1994 , and collections of stories including American Whiskey, which won the German Catholic Art and Culture Award Polish literary critics paid the most attention to the parable as novel A Mass for Arras 1971 , which recounted authentic fifteenth century historical events plague, famine, and the persecution of Jews and heretics Szczypiorski sat down to write this novel in the autumn of 1968, in response to the dramatic and shameful events of the preceding spring the anti Semitic campaign and attacks on intellectuals orchestrated by the communist authorities The issues concealed between the lines were perfectly clear to the first Polish readers, and A Mass for Arras was regarded as an important commentary on current events by a writer with moral concerns.He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.Bibliography1963 Behind the walls of Sodom pl Za murami Sodomy 1966 Journey to the edge of valley pl Podr do kra ca doliny 1971 Mass for the town of Arras pl Msza za miasto Arras 1974 And they passed by Emaus pl I omin li Emaus 1983 Notes from Martial law pl Z notatnika stanu wojennego 1986 Beginning pl Pocz tek 1990 American whisky and other stories pl Ameryka ska whisky i inne opowiadania 1991 Night, day and night pl Noc, dzie i noc 1994 Self portrait with a woman pl Autoportret z kobiet 1997 Sins, virtues, desires pl Grzechy, cnoty, pragnienia 1999 Three short stories pl Trzy kr tkie opowiadania 1999 Play with fire pl Gra z ogniem Awards1972 Polish PEN Club Prize1988 Austrian State Prize for European Literature1989 Nelly Sachs Prize1994 Herder Prize

    608 Comments

    1. Caught up in the Polish uprising against the Germans and sent a concentration camp, it's little wonder Andrzej Szczypiorski choose to write about the very one thing he knew best, that being a Nazi-occupied Warsaw during the biggest atrocity to hit the 20th century. The title of 'The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman' is a little misleading, yes there is a Mrs Seidenman (Irma Seidenman), who uses her looks, goes by the name of Maria Magdalena Gostomka, and has a set of false papers as a way to deceive the [...]


    2. The action of Andrzej Szczypiorski’s novelThe beginningtakes place in Nazi occupied Warsaw at the turn of 1942-1943 but in the flashbacks we get a glimpse of other historical events like liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 , Warsaw uprising in August 1944, events of March 1968 and the wave of anti-Semitic hate campaign, street demonstrations and protests in December 1970, election of Pole as a pope in October 1978, martial law in 1981. And such device helps the writer not only to complete [...]


    3. A curious brillianceOn Both Sides of the Warsaw Ghetto by Israel BernbaumThere. See it? A carousel. A carousel right up against the wall surrounding the Warsaw ghetto. Crashing cymbals and the taratata of drums, singing violins and dragging, mournful bass drown out the ominous onslaught of the four horses of the apocalypse, unleashed on the other side. The absurdity of such a thing is enough not just to knock Professor Winiar off his feet, but to knock his heart out of rhythm entirely. Heart-sto [...]


    4. Ignore the blurb, the insipid front cover and the title (suggestive as it is of the 19thc, and of romance novels). This book is something other. A series of events occur to a series of characters in Warsaw. The temporal fulcrum of the text is 1943, and the fate of these men and women pivots here. We slip forward (sometimes right up to the 1980s) and back to comment upon and illuminate action taken or not taken during the darkest days of the war. There is much death, of course, but humour (often [...]


    5. What an astonishing book The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman is. Published in 1986 in Polish (entitled Pozatek) and beautifully translated into English by Klara Glowczewska in 1988, this book offers a portrait of Warsaw in 1942-43. The eponymous heroine is a Jewish widow who manages to pass for two years as not Jewish because her hair is blonde and her eyes are blue and because she tells the police her name is Maria Magdelena Gostomska and that she is the widow of an officer. This book tells the story [...]


    6. Like God was the storyteller. The setting was 1943 Warsaw, Poland during the Nazi occupation. But it wouldn't have mattered if the setting was in another place or at another time. It was, among others, the brilliant style of narration which did it for this novel, something I had not seen before.The blurb at the back of the book, and perhaps the title itself, are misleading. This is not just about Irma Seidenman, a young blue-eyed, blond, jewish widow who got a false identity but was betrayed and [...]


    7. Irma Seidenman had been living under a false identity as a Polish officer's widow in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. She is recognized by a former acquaintance, and is arrested for being a Jew. A group of Polish people set up a plan to rescue her.The interconnected chapters of the book are each devoted to a particular character or incident. Together, the stories give a composite picture of the people in Warsaw during World War II, and a glimpse into the future for them. The well-written book had complex c [...]



    8. Unique writing, beautifully portrays life during 1942-9143 Warsaw. The narrative jumps around between past, present and future and from one character to another. Though not easy to follow at times, this style gives an over-arching view of how lives are lost, saved or changed within the blink of an eye. Very philosophical at times, with beautiful sentences to savor that speak deep truths about life and people.


    9. I was recently looking through an old journal for something else entirely, yet came across this title and author scribbled on one of the pages. I don't know what the context was because it's literally just there, pretty much all by itself. I have no memory of writing it down, and it's interesting to me that I wrote it there to begin with since I have a separate little notebook I write down titles that I want to read one day.When this book was nominated and chosen to be a group read for a group, [...]


    10. The chief problem with Andrzej Szczypiorski for foreign readers is that tonguetwister of a surname he bore.I wonder how many readers out of Poland have heard of Szczypiorski by word of mouth but cannot spell the author right. And how many non-Polish speaking librarians and booksellers might have been engaged in surreal conversations such as the following one: Reader - Good morning, I'm looking for a book by this guy Sshz…Tzip…something like that. You got it?Librarian - Morning. Well, I'm gla [...]


    11. Credeva di essere padrone delle proprie scelte. Bisogna perdonarlo"La bella signora Seidenman" è un romanzo corale del polacco Szczypiorski (ma quanto son difficili questi cognomi!) sulla Polonia e i suoi drammi durante la seconda guerra mondiale.Attorno alla storia della protagonista Irma Seidenman, l'autore descrive un personaggio differente per ogni capitolo, non limitandosi a fotografarne l'attimo, ma mostrandocelo anche anni dopo, quando è anziano o sta per morire. Questo salto temporale [...]


    12. this is a wonderful novel, filled with extremely beautiful writing. it is about jews living in nazi-occupied warsaw in 1943. i have read many books , both novels and non-fiction, about jewish people during the second world war, and this is one of the best i've read.i can't imagine what it must have been like to spend your life in constant fear of hearing jackboots coming up the stairs to get you and your family, and being sent to almost certain death.fucking nazis.i only have a couple of quibble [...]


    13. Mr. Szczypiorski, you had tears rolling down my cheeks so many times. They were not tears of sadness, rather more empathetic/sympathetic. Your book is about special friendships, the goodness of people, and selflessness. It is about a love of country and the feeling of unity and brotherhood among its citizens.Warsaw, 1943. Jews were being literally slaughtered when they didn't just disappear. Sometimes wars are fought by soldiers, and sometimes by a civilian resistance. In WWII people also just t [...]


    14. THE BEAUTIFUL MRS. SEIDENMAN. (1989). Andrzej Szczypiorski. ***1/2.The author – I’ll refer to him as AS when I have to – is well known in Europe – especially in Poland, and has a respectable list of books to his credit. This book is basically an attempt to describe the life in a Polish ghetto in Warsaw during WW II. There seems to be some disagreement over the title. Alternate titles do not convey any sense of the contents of the book. The use of the “Mrs. Seidenman” title at least b [...]


    15. Wow. For this book, that one-word review would also work.I picked up this novel after reading about it on NPR - npr/2013/05/12/1823723If you can believe it, I don't think that even review does this book justice. In 2010, I stopped buying books. This is one of those books that makes me deeply regret that choice. Returning it to the library was painful. I want to read it again, and underline and mark and study and cry. The book is a tapestry of Warsaw in summer 1943, on the eve of the ghetto upris [...]


    16. «Он помнил те времена, когда зло и обман появлялись стыдливо, тайком, переодетыми, в маске или во мраке, поскольку люди стремились делать вид, что добры и преданны правде, или даже были такими».В последней главе булгаковской «Белой гвардии», там, где расступается смутная мгл [...]


    17. Recommended me to by a professor I greatly admire, "The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman" is a novel I very much wanted to love. All of the ingredients were there for an amazing story: WW II Poland, a Jewish widow in need of rescue, lyrical prose, an esteemed European author. And yet, somehow, I found myself struggling.Part of the issue, as it always is in books we struggle with, is the lack of a coherent story. In all frankness, the book jacket description of the novel is far more amazing than the nove [...]


    18. The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman is set in Warsaw in 1943, just before the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, when the beautiful Irma Seidenman, a Jewish widow who is blonde and blue-eyed enough to pass for Aryan and thus survive, is fingered by a Jewish informant to the Gestapo. A chain of helpers tries to free her, and through their stories, Andrzej Szczypiorski gives us a panorama of Poland under Nazi rule. If this sounds melodramatic, it isn't at all - his narrative style is one of cool detachment that occ [...]


    19. Meh. This book presents many very intriguing characters, but the author seems so wrapped up in his own ideas about Poles and the future of Poland that he seems to forget he is supposed to be telling a story here. There is no story. There is no suspense.You already know from the beginning that Mrs. Seidenman will be rescued, because it says so on the dust jacket. (And, contrary to what the dust jacket says, the rescue was not "dramatic." It wasn't like they stormed the jail Bastille-style or anyt [...]


    20. Don't let the title fool you. This isn't really about Mrs.Seidenman, but rather about a group of characters, loosely connected by her. This is Warsaw under the Nazi occupation, and these characters circle and touch each other briefly, like dust motes in Brownian motion. In the midst of a character's actions, the author often pauses to give us a brief summary of what will happen in the rest of the character's life. All these threads are so deftly interwoven that the tapestry of the story is beaut [...]


    21. Totally beautiful prose and some amazing character studies.The thing about this book is that it's not only about the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, which obviously was a tragedy but is the subject of many other works too. This book also looks at the non-Jewish Polish people and even the German occupiers during the Second World War, showing how each person had an effect on the lives of the others. And in the end it's really about Poland and whether it can exist as an independent nation which when thi [...]


    22. Absolutely wonderful, powerful, historically informative, lyrical at times without being sentimental. The language is so rich, full of description without being overwhelming. And the characters are complex and they are woven into the novel with incredible litereary skill. Never wanted it to end - though it has the power to stay with you.


    23. quite possibly the most beautiful book in the world. beautiful language, a style as smooth as soft serve ice cream, and an engaging plot. this is the kind of book that i read and think, 'god put this author on earth to write this'.


    24. NO SPÖILERS!!!Well I finished it, and I am glad it is done. Yes, the author definitely has a way with words, so to test his writing style was an experience I will not forget. However, the humor is snide and dark. The characters lead such pitiful lives. Life is bleak and without warmth. This is a book of description. The reader does not live the life of the characters. The style is analytical and meant to arouse your thoughts. Each character is described, their personality and their specific act [...]


    25. Intense and lyrical, this is an unusual and compelling picture of 1943 Warsaw, but it is not a straightforward historical novel. Forget the English title (the Polish title translates as 'Beginning', a more enigmatic and ambiguous title that is more fitting). Look past the beautiful, but unblemished and luminous, picture on the book's cover. And ignore the blurb that suggests this is just the story of one Jewish woman who is passing as a Polish officer's wife, until she is recognised and imprison [...]


    26. This book wasn't at all what I had expected because I had expected it to be something like Bernard Schlink's The Reader describing one woman's experiences with the Nazis. In The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman, Polish author Andrzej Szczypiorski tells far more stories because each chapter tells the experiences of one of the people who were connected to the incident with Mrs Seidenman, from the Jewish informer who handed her over to the Germans to the reluctant German who was charged with judging her ca [...]


    27. Varsavia è una città tormentata, come l'intera Polonia, terra di passaggio e di approdo di eserciti, dilaniata e divisa come bottino di guerra. E dalle pagine di questo libro si levano le voci dei suoi abitanti, diversi per estrazione e religione, divisi tra ghetto e parte ariana, ma accomunati dal vuoto lasciato dalla perdita della libertà e, soprattutto, dell'identità, del "modo di vivere polacco". Li vediamo muoversi frenetici, nell'ombra, lottare per la sopravvivenza o accettare la morte [...]


    28. After already reading a book about the second World War, I wasn’t up to another one. Especially since this one focuses on Jews as well but The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman is so great that I forgot all my complaints and got absorbed into the novel.As such you could say that the book is a collection of short stories but they are loosely linked as the same characters re-occur. The woman of the title is a Jew who has, through illegal ways, becomes a Polish citizen. Her lover is a young man who tries [...]


    29. This was an interesting novel, set in Poland during WWII, and dealing with a handful of characters, gentile and Jewish. There was some playing with time that worked in an interesting way, mostly with the 3rd person narrator jumping into the future, telling you who lived or died. Personally I felt the novel had a lot more potential than was realized - it could have been fleshed out a bit more. It kept its distance from its characters somehow. I never had the feeling they could be real, which is s [...]


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