April 19, 2017

Holocaust Journey Discussed At Labyrinth Next Week

Princeton resident Victor Ripp will be at Labyrinth Books Tuesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. to read from his book Hell’s Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-Five Holocaust Memorials. (Farrar Straus and Giroux $25), which has been described by André Aciman as “vast and deep in its fiercely unsentimental consideration of how we remember the Holocaust.”

In July 1942, the French police in Paris, acting for the German military government, arrested Victor Ripp’s 3-year-old cousin, Alexandre. Two months later, the boy was killed in Auschwitz. Mr. Ripp examines this act through the prism of family history. In addition to Alexandre, ten members of his family on his father’s side died in the Holocaust. His mother’s side of the family, numbering 30 people, was in Berlin when Hitler came to power. Without exception they escaped the Final Solution.

According to Anna Bikont, author of The Crime and the Silence, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, “The Axis of Exile and the Axis of the Holocaust—the two axes that define the space of the Jewish Museum in Berlin—also define the fate of the family of Victor Ripp’s family. While his mother’s family chose the Axis of Exile, his father’s family was devoured by the Axis of the Holocaust. The story of their lives, interwoven with the author’s journey from one monument to another, is more powerful than so many of those made of stone.”

Mr. Ripp is the author of Moscow to Main Street, Pizza in Pushkin Square, and Turgenev’s Russia. His fiction has appeared in Ontario Review and Antioch Review. He has taught at Cornell University and the University of Virginia.