The Oblique Place by Caterina Pascual Söderbaum review – a family’s dark Nazi past


This post is by Ian Thomson from Books | The Guardian


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A ‘castle of murder’ in Nazi Austria is at the heart of this semi-autobiographical family chronicle

Attempts to recreate the horrors of the Final Solution in film and fiction are mostly a “macabre indecency”, said the Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi. The Oblique Place, published posthumously in Sweden in 2016, offers no trite answers. In pages of restlessly enquiring self-examination, it captures a family’s long-term involvement in Nazism. Caterina Pascual Söderbaum, who died in 2015 at the age of 53, was born in Uppsala, central Sweden, to parents still in thrall to the swastika. Her book, a semi-fictionalised family chronicle that ventures into other lives and historical events , is an attempt to come to terms with a troubled and disquieting past.

Gertrud Söderbaum, the author’s Swedish mother, was related to Hitler’s favourite female actor Kristina Söderbaum, who played the leading role in the antisemitic propaganda film Jud Süss; ...