|About the Book|
Most serious historians would estimate that at least 40 million people perished in the death camps and on the killing fields of World War Two. In the face of such a figure, it should cause no surprise that they received more attention than theMoreMost serious historians would estimate that at least 40 million people perished in the death camps and on the killing fields of World War Two. In the face of such a figure, it should cause no surprise that they received more attention than the millions who ‘merely’ lost their homes, were uprooted or ethnically cleansed. John Tschinkel’s autobiographical history deals with a small and relatively unknown group of such persons, the Gottschee Germans. For six hundred years this former enclave in Slovenia survived and even prospered under the generally benign sovereignty of Habsburg Austria. Tschinkel’s focus is on his experiences up to the end of WW II and his major contribution to our knowledge is the series of vividly recalled historical events, incidents, anecdotes and memories, recounted with a powerful narrative skill and an authorial voice that is at times wry, ironic, angry and frustrated, but always deeply humane and striving for a balanced vision. The bells that ‘no longer ring’ are those of the church of Grcarice (Masern) in Slovenia, the village where the author spent the first ten years of his life. They become powerful and recurrent symbols marking the phases and cycles of a vibrant culture, with its births and deaths, dangers and ecstasies, past and future. Dr. Peter Foulkes, Former Professor of German Studies, Dean of Humanities Stanford University, California. Emeritus Professor, University of Wales. ------------------- The author grew up in a self sufficient village in Slovenia until its entire population surrendered to the pressure to resettle in 1941. Not ‘Home to the Reich’ as promised, but to another part of annexed and ethnically cleansed Slovenia from where they were expelled in 1945 to become homeless refugees. The book is a merging of at least four aspects of a story running in parallel: history, politics, cultural awareness and personal narrative. Because of this intertwining, the tale never gets boring. The expressive power of the book has several peaks. The last is the description of how the family is trying to outrun the Communist Partisans. Prof., Dr. Marjan Kordaš, Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts.