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Fascinated by the nature of the Jewish identity, Doeblin, the author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz", a non-practising Jew in Berlin in the 1920s, decided to visit Poland to try to discover his Jewish roots. This book is a record of that journey. He describes Polish-Jewish language and tradition, the striking costumes and colourful markets, and the terrible poverty that surroun Fascinated by the nature of the Jewish identity, Doeblin, the author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz", a non-practising Jew in Berlin in the 1920s, decided to visit Poland to try to discover his Jewish roots. This book is a record of that journey. He describes Polish-Jewish language and tradition, the striking costumes and colourful markets, and the terrible poverty that surrounded everything. The book is both a personal investigation into ancestry and a portrait of a unique society on the eve of its destruction.


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Fascinated by the nature of the Jewish identity, Doeblin, the author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz", a non-practising Jew in Berlin in the 1920s, decided to visit Poland to try to discover his Jewish roots. This book is a record of that journey. He describes Polish-Jewish language and tradition, the striking costumes and colourful markets, and the terrible poverty that surroun Fascinated by the nature of the Jewish identity, Doeblin, the author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz", a non-practising Jew in Berlin in the 1920s, decided to visit Poland to try to discover his Jewish roots. This book is a record of that journey. He describes Polish-Jewish language and tradition, the striking costumes and colourful markets, and the terrible poverty that surrounded everything. The book is both a personal investigation into ancestry and a portrait of a unique society on the eve of its destruction.

47 review for Journey to Poland

  1. 5 out of 5

    Billie

    Den tar tid att läsa. Tack Döblin för att du skildrat denna värld, Polen och judiska Polen 1924 som bara 10 år senare utplånats. Vetskapen om detta ger läsningen en ännu sorgligare ton än den som redan finns där av armodet hos många av människorna i boken.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Hirsch

    I'm not crazy about travelogues (the last one I read and enjoyed was Knut Hamsun's "In Wonderland"). That disclosed, I've enjoyed enough Döblin in the past to at least give this book a go on the strength of my previous reading of his works. "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is a tour-de-force, and some of Döblin's other works (like "A People Betrayed") are at least important historical artifacts of a very chaotic time and place, regardless of their literary merit. "Journey to Poland" is a weird mix of phi I'm not crazy about travelogues (the last one I read and enjoyed was Knut Hamsun's "In Wonderland"). That disclosed, I've enjoyed enough Döblin in the past to at least give this book a go on the strength of my previous reading of his works. "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is a tour-de-force, and some of Döblin's other works (like "A People Betrayed") are at least important historical artifacts of a very chaotic time and place, regardless of their literary merit. "Journey to Poland" is a weird mix of philosophy, eschatology, soap-boxing, and poetic musings from Döblin, who describes his west-to-east journey from Germany into Poland in the book's pages (the borders between the two lands have always been contested, and strong tensions have always existed between the two peoples). The author's descriptions of religious icons, historical sights, and architecture really start to take on a quality of sameness that recalls Steven Spielberg's dig at Kubrick's masterwork "Barry Lyndon," that it's all a bit like spending all day at the Prado without lunch. Some of the esoteric info about the non-assimilated Jews Döblin encounters is fascinating, as are the debates surrounding the then-nascent movement of Zionism. The problem is that for every time Döblin allows his subjects to speak, he interjects ten times as much of himself into the travelogue. These things can be turgid enough as is (they're basically picaresques without the action or the rake/libertine element); add to that the fact that Döblin is too solipsistic to even play "camera" and faithfully record what he sees around him (to borrow the term from John van Druten by way of Christopher Isherwood) and we get a picture that becomes increasingly myopic at just the juncture when it feels like Döblin would have been better served rather by widening his vistas. Ironically, the parts of the book that worked best for me seem to be when Döblin abandons his human quarry and his mission to establish a link with his less assimilated Jewish brethren, and he instead focuses on natural splendor or wintry barrenness, on mountains and trees and landscapes. He's not Whitman or Emerson (or a German romantic equivalent) but he has a nature poet's transcendentalist gift for losing himself (and his ego) in descriptive renderings that leave the reader breathless, and it only makes me wish there was more of such descriptions in this book. That said, the usual caveat that this is one man's opinion needs to be interjected here. Others may enjoy it quite a bit more and shouldn't let my review serve as much other than a guidepost for the book's contents. I wouldn't recommend "Journey" except for those with a strong interest in Judaica and a keen interest in the moment just before an entire metaphysical framework was steamrolled by the progression of Panzer tanks that followed the same general course as Döblin, although they came as conquerors and not travelers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz Armstrong

    so this is how eastern europe/poland is before WWII! how very different from my/our lives today here in the u.s. i can't even imagine being so poor, having so little, life being so terribly harsh. the writing itself was difficult for me to read. every sentence seems to be short and choppy; i felt like i was constantly stopping and starting. also, it was filled with so many negative images and thoughts, it became exhausting to read. so this is how eastern europe/poland is before WWII! how very different from my/our lives today here in the u.s. i can't even imagine being so poor, having so little, life being so terribly harsh. the writing itself was difficult for me to read. every sentence seems to be short and choppy; i felt like i was constantly stopping and starting. also, it was filled with so many negative images and thoughts, it became exhausting to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dean

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andreas Wladis

  6. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena Augustyn

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diarmid Sullivan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Xanti Sarabia

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linds

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mosse

  12. 4 out of 5

    Spachtelmasse

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lene

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Engstrom

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michal

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Reeves

  17. 4 out of 5

    jennifer.robertson42yahoo.co.uk

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elena Merighi

  19. 5 out of 5

    Weronika

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  22. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Gierke

  23. 4 out of 5

    libraryfacts

  24. 5 out of 5

    Harry

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zacarator

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mingus

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

  28. 5 out of 5

    Þórir Hrafn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Max Berendsen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Frank

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sam Pink

  32. 4 out of 5

    Francesco Silubu

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kirstin

  34. 5 out of 5

    Franciszek

  35. 4 out of 5

    Frankas

  36. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  37. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

  38. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Schramm

  39. 4 out of 5

    Guruguru

  40. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lena

  43. 4 out of 5

    Alda Eik

  44. 5 out of 5

    Timelapple

  45. 5 out of 5

    Der

  46. 5 out of 5

    Ermir Qeli

  47. 4 out of 5

    Janine

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