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Witold Gombrowicz, Lillian Vallee

Vera Gran-The Accused

Vera Gran-The Accused - Agata Tuszyńska This got a rather negative review from the New York Times because the reviewer thought there was too much about the author's feelings about her subject and too few definitive conclusions about the subject herself. But I actually thought that the strength of the book was that it kept making the point that it's almost impossible at this point to pin down the definitive "truth" about certain "facts on the ground" that occurred during the chaos of World War II. Did Vera Gran collaborate with the Nazis? If not, why do so many people think she did? If so, why was she not found guilty? If not, why did Szpilman leave her out of his book (which became the basis for Polanski's movie "The Pianist")? Did Szpilman himself collaborate with the Nazis? Gran seems to be recounting a hallucination when she tells Tuszynska that she saw Szpilman working as a Jewish policeman, yet those who claim to have seen Gran parading outside the ghetto walls seem equally deluded. Why did Gran leave her husband and rescuer, Kazik Jezierski? The questions multiply in this fascinating book, which offers no easy answers. I think the Times reviewer (like many of us) wants his Holocaust stories neat and clean, with heroic rescuers tricking the villainous Nazis so that virtuous Jews can be saved. But this book is here to tell us that in real wartime, things aren't always so clean, and real heroes can sometimes be also unlikable, vain, superficial, but still tragic for all that.