The Passenger

By Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, Philip Boehm (translator),

Book cover of The Passenger

Book description

Berlin, November 1938. With storm troopers battering against his door, Otto Silberman must flee out the back of his own home. He emerges onto streets thrumming with violence: it is Kristallnacht, and synagogues are being burnt, Jews rounded up and their businesses destroyed.

Turned away from establishments he had long…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Passenger as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Written in just four weeks, this book pulsates with fury and is all the more poignant when you know its young Jewish author died after his ship was sunk in the war.

Otto Silbermann is a Jewish businessman on the run as his world collapses around him, and he slowly realises his homeland is enemy territory. It’s chilling and devastatingly real.

From Tessa's list on WW2 novels featuring loners we love.

The Passenger is a riveting novel about a Jewish man who attempts to evade the Nazis through constant train travel.

The novel’s strength lies in its astute psychological portrayal of a particular sort of Jewish victim—one who tries to deny both his Jewish origins as well as the gravity of his circumstances. Despite his obfuscations, the atmosphere of this novel is filled with the looming threat of betrayal and arrest.

Nightmarish and haunting, the story is driven by the question of whether this man will be successful in dodging his impending capture.

From Sharon's list on Jewish survival under the Nazis.

This novel was recently discovered in German archives and published again after years of obscurity. Otto Silbermann, a Berlin businessman, a fighter in The Great War, finds himself under attack by Nazi storm troopers in November of 1938. Forced to act quickly, his choices limited by draconian National Socialist laws, he decides the best way to avoid arrest while running for his life, is to travel by train. Absurdist, surreal, and filled with acerbic humor, The Passenger conveys the sense of dread, the isolation, and the feeling of being chased by death as well as any novel written about the…

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